Centre Robbie Fruean dropped by Crusaders
Robbie Fruean has been left out of the Crusaders side to face the Melbourne Rebels in Christchurch on Sunday afternoon.
The big centre, who has started all eight of the Crusaders matches this season, has been replaced by Ryan Crotty who has shuffled out one position from his usual spot at second five-eighth.
Crotty has been replaced by Tom Taylor, while Dan Carter, who has recovered from his hamstring strain, has been named on the bench.
Coach Todd Blackadder has made two other changes to the side that beat the Highlanders 24-8 in Christchurch last weekend.
Joe Moody starts as loosehead prop, moving Wyatt Crockett to the bench. Willi Heinz starts as halfback ahead of Andy Ellis.
Fruean’s demotion is likely to be part of a strategy to freshen him ahead of the following weekend’s match against the Brumbies in Canberra.
But if Crotty produces a notable performance and can straighten the Crusaders attack more often, Blackadder could be tempted to retain him in the unfamiliar position.
Adam Whitelock was another option for the No 13 jersey but has been named on the bench.
Carter is expected to make an appearance in the second half.
CRUSADERS: Israel Dagg, Tom Marshall, Ryan Crotty, Tom Taylor, Zac Guildford, Tyler Bleyendaal, Willi Heinz, Luke Whitelock, Matt Todd, George Whitelock (captain), Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Corey Flynn, Joe Moody. Reserves: Ben Funnell, Wyatt Crockett, Dominic Bird, Jordan Taufua, Andy Ellis, Dan Carter, Adam Whitelock.