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All Blacks captain Cane returns from injury for Gatland's Chiefs

The Crusaders are unchanged as they aim to pick up where they left off.

ALL BLACKS CAPTAIN Sam Cane has returned from a back injury to be named Chiefs skipper for Sunday’s Super Rugby Aotearoa clash with the Crusaders in Christchurch [KO 4.35am Irish time, Sky Sports Main Event/Action, repeated at 10am on Sky Sports Action].

Warren Gatland’s Chiefs have lost both of their opening games in the New Zealand competition meaning Cane’s return is a timely boost as they visit the reigning Super Rugby champions.

sam-cane Sam Cane is back from a back injury. Source: Photosport/Bruce Lim/INPHO

Gatland has also brought second row Mitchell Brown, hooker Bradley Slater, and wing Solomon Alaimalo into his starting XV, while flanker Mitchell Karpik and centre Tumua Manu are introduced to the bench.

The Crusaders have opted for an unchanged team after opening their campaign with a 39-25 win away to the Hurricanes last weekend.

Scott Robertson’s men will be keen to pick up where they left off as they return home to Orangetheory Stadium.


15. Will Jordan
14. Sevu Reece
13. Braydon Ennor
12. Jack Goodhue
11. George Bridge  
10. Richie Mo’unga
9. Bryn Hall 

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1. Joe Moody
2. Codie Taylor (captain)
3. Michael Alaalatoa
4. Samuel Whitelock
5. Mitchell Dunshea
6. Cullen Grace
7. Billy Harmon
8. Whetukamokamo Douglas (vice-captain)


16. Brodie McAlister
17. George Bower
18. Oliver Jager
19. Luke Romano
20. Ethan Blackadder
21. Mitchell Drummond
22. David Havili (vice-captain)
23. Leicester Faingaanuku


15. Damian McKenzie
14. Solomon Alaimalo
13. Quinn Tupaea
12. Anton Lienert-Brown
11. Sean Wainui
10. Aaron Cruden
9. Brad Weber

1. Aidan Ross
2. Bradley Slater
3. Nepo Laulala
4. Mitchell Brown
5. Naitoa Ah Kuoi
6. Lachlan Boshier
7. Sam Cane (captain)
8. Pita Gus Sowakula


16. Samisoni Taukei’aho
17. Reuben O’Neill
18. Ross Geldenhuys
19. Adam Thomson
20. Mitchell Karpik
21. Lisati Milo-Harris
22. Kaleb Trask
23. Tumua Manu


Meanwhile, the Blues named an unchanged team as they look to continue their winning streak in tomorrow’s clash with the Highlanders at Eden Park [KO 8.05am Sky Sports Action, repeated at 12pm].

Leon McDonald’s side have impressed with two wins from two so far and the head coach makes no changes to his starting XV, although England international Joe Marchant comes onto the bench in what is set to be his final appearance before his loan spell from Harlequins ends.

Aaron Maguer’s Highlanders have made just one change to their starting team after having a bye last weekend, with Scott Gregory named for his second start for the franchise at fullback. Ngane Punivai returns from injury in the 23 shirt.


15. Beauden Barrett
14. Mark Telea
13. Rieko Ioane
12. TJ Faiane
11. Caleb Clarke
10. Otere Black
9. Sam Nock

1. Alex Hodgman
2. James Parsons
3. Ofa Tuungafasi
4. Patrick Tuipulotu (captain)
5. Josh Goodhue
6. Akira Ioane
7. Dalton Papalii
8. Hoskins Sotutu


16. Kurt Eklund
17. Marcel Renata
18. Sione Mafileo
19. Gerard Cowley-Tuioti
20. Tony Lamborn
21. Finlay Christie
22. Harry Plummer
23. Joe Marchant


15. Scott Gregory
14. Sam Gilbert
13. Rob Thompson
12. Patelesio Tomkinson
11. Jona Nareki
10. Mitch Hunt
9. Aaron Smith

1. Ayden Johnstone
2. Ash Dixon (captain)
3. Siate Tokolahi
4. Paripari Parkinson
5. Josh Dickson
6. Shannon Frizell
7. Dillon Hunt
8. Marino Mikaele Tu’u


16. Liam Coltman
17. Daniel Lienert-Brown
18. Jeff Thwaites
19. Manaaki Selby-Rickit
20. Teariki Ben-Nicholas
21. Kayne Hammington
22. Bryn Gatland
23. Ngane Punivai 

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