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Crusaders XV includes All Black tight five in another huge test for the Lions
The Super Rugby leaders have named an impressive starting team for Saturday.

Murray Kinsella reports from Christchurch

THE CRUSADERS HAVE named an impressive side to face the Lions on Saturday at AMI Stadium [KO 8.35am Irish time, Sky Sports], including an All Black tight five and a hugely dangerous backline.

Head coach Scott Robertson’s team is captained by All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock, with fellow Test players Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Seta Tamanivalu, Codie Taylor, Isreal Dagg and Joe Moody starting in what will be the third game of the Lions’ tour.

inpho_01216979 Photosport / John Davidson/INPHO The Crusaders have been in sensational form. Photosport / John Davidson/INPHO / John Davidson/INPHO

With the Crusaders remaining undefeated in Super Rugby this season, Warren Gatland’s side face a huge challenge in Christchurch.

Gifted 23-year-old out-half Richie Mo’unga will steer a backline that includes All Blacks Dagg and Tamanivalu in the back three, as well as the exciting youthful talent of wing George Bridge and centre pairing David Havili and Jack Goodhue.

21-year-old Goodhue was today also named as injury cover for Steve Hansen’s All Blacks squad after a superb season.

Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, Jordan Taufua and Matt Todd – who was unlucky to miss out on All Blacks selection outright, but does also provide injury cover – form a potent back row for the Super Rugby leaders.

New Zealand international prop Wyatt Crockett is part of a bench that features more exciting young players, including out-half Mitch Hunt, who scored a remarkable last-gasp drop goal to fire the Crusaders to victory over the Highlanders last weekend.

“We’ve put it down as a one-off,” said Robertson of picking his side to face the Lions. “It was a hard team to select, we want to put the best team out but the whole squad has played very well.

“We’ve given our All Blacks a chance to play and that’s how much it means to us.”

Crusaders (v Lions):

15. Isreal Dagg
14. Seta Tamanivalu
13. Jack Goodhue
12. David Havili
11. George Bridge
10. Richie Mo’unga
9. Bryn Hall

1. Joe Moody
2. Codie Taylor
3. Owen Franks
4. Luke Romano
5. Sam Whitelock (captain)
6. Heiden Bedwell-Curtis
7. Matt Todd
8. Jordan Taufua

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16. Ben Funnell
17. Wyatt Crockett
18. Michael Alaalatoa
19. Quinten Strange
20. Jed Brown
21. Mitch Drummond
22. Mitch Hunt
23. Tim Bateman

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