Dagg at fullback as Crusaders ready for Rebels

Last updated 13:25 12/03/2014
Israel Dagg
STACY SQUIRES/Fairfax NZ
BACK AGAIN: Israel Dagg returns to fullback and Colin Slade will start at first five-eighth for the Crusaders against the Rebels.

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Israel Dagg returns to fullback and Colin Slade will start at first five-eighth for the Crusaders in Friday night's match against the Rebels in Melbourne.

The Crusaders under-performing backline has again been revamped by Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder.

Halfback Andy Ellis replaces the injured Willi Heinz (calf muscle) and centre Reynold Lee-Lo has been dropped to accommodate Tom Taylor and Ryan Crotty in the revamped midfield.

Lee-Lo, who started the first three Super Rugby games, has been unable to reproduce the form he displayed for the Hurricanes last year and drops out of the 23.

With Slade shifting to first-five in place of Taylor, Dagg returns to fullback after starting on the left wing last week. Nafi Tuitavake has been named on the right wing and Johnny McNicholl shifts to the other flank.

Fijian international Nemani Nadolo, who played for the Crusaders development team last weekend, has been named on the bench.

If he makes an appearance it will be his first match for the franchise. Rookie halfback Mitchell Drummond has also been named in the reserves.

Hooker Ben Funnell is the only change to the forwards. Regular rake Corey Flynn fractured an eye socket against the Stormers in Christchurch last weekend. Codie Taylor has been named on the bench for the first time this year as cover for hooker.

Crusaders: Israel Dagg, Nafi Tuitavake, Ryan Crotty, Tom Taylor, Johnny McNicholl, Colin Slade, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read (c), Matt Todd, Luke Whitelock, Samuel Whitelock, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Ben Funnell, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Codie Taylor, Tim Perry, Nepo Laulala, Dominic Bird, Jordan Taufua, Mitchell Drummond, Kieron Fonotia, Nemani Nadolo.

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