Crusaders unchanged for Super Rugby final
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The seven-time champion Crusaders have matched the New South Wales Waratahs by naming an unchanged lineup for Saturday’s Super Rugby final in Sydney.
All Blacks flyhalf Dan Carter will again play at inside center, ceding the No. 10 jersey to Colin Slade as the Crusaders retain the combination that beat the Sharks 38-6 in last weekend’s semifinals.
Kieran Read will captain the Crusaders from No. 8, while All Blacks captain Richie McCaw will start at blindside flanker, allowing Matt Todd to continue on the openside. Only two members of the starting lineup — wingers Kieron Fonotia and Fiji international Nemani Nadolo — have not played for the All Blacks.
The teams did not meet during the regular season but clashed in the 2008 final, won by the Crusaders. The Waratahs are looking for their first Super Rugby title.
“There is an unknown element given that we haven’t played the Waratahs so far this year, but that goes for both teams,” Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder said. “We are just focused on being as prepared as we can be to put in the best performance we’re capable of.”
Crusaders team: Israel Dagg, Kieron Fonotia, Ryan Crotty, Dan Carter, Nemani Nadolo, Colin Slade, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read (captain), Matt Todd, Richie McCaw, Sam Whitelock, Dominic Bird, Owen Franks, Corey Flynn, Wyatt Crockett.
Reserves: Ben Funnell, Joe Moody, Nepo Laulala, Jimmy Tupou, Jordan Taufua, Willi Heinz, Tom Taylor, Johnny McNicholl.