Guildford back from ban on Crusaders bench
Zac Guildford returns from suspension to get a place on the Crusaders bench for Saturday night's Super Rugby match against the Highlanders in Dunedin.
The All Blacks wing has now served his four-match ban for his misdemeanours while holidaying in Rarotonga after the World Cup success but there has been no rush from Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder to get him in the starting side.
Guildford joining the bench at the expense of Patrick Osborne is the only change to the Crusaders squad that beta the Blues in the season-opener last Friday night in Auckland.
That means Guildford's good friend and All Blacks team mate Israel Dagg stays on the wing rather than at his preferred fullback position.
In-form Crusaders midfield back Ryan Crotty pulled his hamstring at training in Christchurch this morning and has been ruled out of Saturday night's grudge-match.
Crotty hobbled from the training field at Rugby Park in obvious pain and team management confirmed he had been immediatley scratched from the game.
He is likely to be replaced by Adam Whitelock earlier named on the bench when the team was announced this morning. Patrick Osborne will also come into the match day 22 as cover fro the the promoted Whitelock.
It promises to be an emotional night at the indoor stadium in Dunedin in the wake of the Otago financial struggles being revealed this week that have put the Highlander's main provincial contributor's future in doubt.
It will also be a big night for former All Blacks lock Tom Donnelly who heads back to his old stomping ground in red and black.
"It does add another dimension to the game because I obviously know a lot of the Highlanders players well and I am familiar with the type of game they play. But at the end of the day you want to perform no matter which team you are up against," Donnelly said.
Crusaders: Tom Marshall, Sean Maitland, Robbie Fruean, Adam Whitelock, Israel Dagg, Tyler Bleyendaal, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read (capt), Matt Todd, George Whitelock, Samuel Whitelock, Tom Donnelly, Ben Franks, Quentin MacDonald, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Corey Flynn, Owen Franks, Luke Romano, Luke Whitelock, Willie Heinz, Zac Guildford, Patrick Osborne.