Canterbury coach Todd Blackadder has made a number of changes to the Crusaders side that soundly defeated the Blues last Friday night in Christchruch, with All Blacks duo Matt Todd and Luke Romano set to make their season debuts against the Kings.
The seven-time champions Crusaders notched their first win of the season last Friday night against the Blues and after stalling in their season opener against the Chiefs, they will look to maintain their strong form when they welcome the winless Southern Kings to Christchurch.
Tries to All Blacks captain Kieran Read and incumbent fly-half Richie Mo’unga ensured the Crusdaders would register their first win of the campaign against the Blues, but only Mo’unga will retain his spot in this week’s side with Counties Manukau number 8 Jimmy Tupou replacing Read in the starting XV.
Elsewhere, prop Wyatt Crockett and hooker Ben Funnell come in to the side for Joe Moody and Codie Taylor while Romano and Todd will replace Scott Barrett and Tim Boys respectively.
Meanwhile, full-back David Havili will move to inside centre with Kieron Fonotia shifting to outside centre. Johnny McNicholl and Nemani Nadolo get the start on the wings with Marty McKenzie making his season debut at full-back.
Crusaders: 15 Marty McKenzie, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 David Havili, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Jimmy Tupou, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Samuel Whitelock (captain), 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ged Robinson, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Mike Alaalatoa, 19 Tim Boys, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Leon Fukofuka, 22 Ryan Crotty, 23 Jone Macilai.
Jack O’Toole, Pundit Arena
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