Crusaders team to play Sharks in Nelson
Story by: CRFU - Photo by: By Chris Symes
The Crusaders welcome back three players from injury for their Investec Super Rugby Qualifier match against the Sharks in Nelson on Saturday night.
Sonny Bill Williams is back at second-five after missing last week’s victory over the Hurricanes due to a hip injury.
Wing Sean Maitland returns from a mid-foot sprain suffered in the match against the Stormers in Cape Town on May 7, which has kept him out for six weeks. And halfback Kahn Fotuali’i is on the reserves bench after coming back from a knee injury suffered in the same match.
Williams replaces Ryan Crotty, Maitland comes in for Brent Ward, and Fotuali’i replaces Willi Heinz.
In another change, Wyatt Crockett replaces Ben Franks at loosehead prop.
Crusaders Head Coach Todd Blackadder said: “It’s great to be able to welcome back Sonny, Sean and Kahn. They’ve all been working extremely hard on their rehab to be fit for this match and they will get their reward on Saturday night.
“It’s an exciting prospect. It’s great to be going back to Nelson where we’ve enjoyed great hospitality this season and the challenge in front of us is clear-cut. We have to win to progress in this competition.”
This match at Trafalgar Park is a sudden-death play-off, with the winner travelling to Cape Town to play the Stormers, who finished second overall.
This is the second time the Crusaders and Sharks have played each other this season. The first was in the historic match at Twickenham in London in March which the Crusaders won 44-28.
Not considered due to injury were Richie McCaw (foot), Israel Dagg (thigh) and Adam Whitelock (chest muscle).
The Crusaders team to play the Sharks at Trafalgar Park in Nelson on Saturday, June 25, kick-off 7.35pm, is:
Kieran Read (c)
Sonny Bill Williams
Ryan Crotty/Brent Ward