Richie Mo’unga returns for Crusaders

Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson has rung the changes to his starting XV for the Round 12 clash with the Rebels in Melbourne on Friday. 

Robertson has made three tweaks in the pack and four in the backs, as well as a positional change which sees Seta Tamanivalu shift from the left to the right wing.

The matchday 23 includes three players – Richie Mo'unga, Jack Goodhue and Mitchell Dunshea – who will make their return from injury this week. 

In the back-line, Mitchell Drummond will wear the number nine jersey against the Rebels and Bryn Hall provides cover on the bench, while Mo'unga returns at first fly-halfh having recovered from the fractured jaw he suffered against the Stormers back in Round Three. 

A reshuffle in the outside backs sees Tamanivalu move from the left to right wing this week in place of Israel Dagg, and George Bridge comes on to the left wing. Goodhue is also set to make his return from injury at AAMI Park, and will slot in at centre. 

In the front row, Wyatt Crockett comes in to the starting team for what will be his 195th Super Rugby appearance, in place of injured loosehead prop Tim Perry. 

20-year-old Harry Allan provides cover on the bench, having made his debut less than two weeks ago against the Sunwolves. At hooker Andrew Makalio and Codie Taylor rotate for this game, so that Makalio takes the starting spot.

At blindside flanker, Melbourne-born Pete Samu earns a start this week, and Heiden Bedwell-Curtis has been named in the reserves. 

Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Pete Samu, 5 Sam Whitelock (c), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Makalio, 1 Wyatt Crockett 
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Harry Allan, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Mitchell Dunshea, 20 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Mitch Hunt, 23 Manasa Mataele

Date: Friday, May 4
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-off: 19:45 local (09:45 GMT)
Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Will Houston (Australia), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)

- Team Talk Media
- Team Talk Media