Burns healed, Burt gets run for Crusaders

GOT A CHANCE: Steve Burt is running on in a Crusaders shirt.
GOT A CHANCE: Steve Burt is running on in a Crusaders shirt.

South Canterbury centre Steve Burt has been named on the bench for the Crusaders in their clash against the Hurricanes in Timaru tomorrow.

It is becoming traditional that a South Canterbury Heartland player gets a spot on the Crusaders bench when they visit Alpine Energy Stadium in pre-season games and Burt is likely to get some game time with the match divided into four quarters.

South Canterbury rugby manager Cam Kilgour said Burt's name was put forward by assistant coach Simon Scott.

"It is a massive opportunity for Steve to be involved with the Crusaders, learning what they do game day and he may get an opportunity to play in the final quarter."

It is a real bonus for Burt who had to pull out of the South Canterbury sevens team for the national tournament when a gas bottle beside a BBQ blew up, burning the inside of his right arm.

Fortunately for Burt the burn has healed quickly and he is delighted to get the opportunity.

"I'm both excited and nervous. I'm not too worried if I get game time as it is just great just to be pulling the jersey on."

Burt, 21, plays his rugby for Lincoln University, where he is studying, but played in all 10 South Canterbury Heartland games last season as a "player of origin".

Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder has named an inexperienced side to start their first pre-season game.

Seven players are making their first appearance for the Crusaders in the starting line-up this week, five of them in the pack..

Prop Joe Moody, hooker Codie Taylor, lock Dominic Bird, No 7 Shane Christie, No 8 Jordan Taufua all get a start alongside Owen Franks, George Whitelock and Joel Everson.

In the absence of Kieran Read, Whitelock will captain the side.

Halfback Jeremy Su'a and centre Kieran Fonotia also get their first start in a backline that sees Robbie Fruean start at second-five.

The 12-strong bench includes the experienced Luke Whitelock, Matt Todd and Andy Ellis.

Two players from the Canterbury academy, Shayne Anderson and James Schrader, have been called up to cover the outside backs and both get a start.

Tickets for the game are selling well with the covered stand sold out and the east stand quickly filling up.

Kilgour urged fans buying tickets on the day to come early and he is expecting a bumper crowd as both sides' All Blacks would be at the game, watching and to attend a autograph signing session afterward.

Crusaders (from 1): Joe Moody, Codie Taylor, Owen Franks, Dominic Bird, Joel Everson, George Whitelock (c), Shane Christie, Jordan Taufua, Jeremy Su'a, Tyler Blyendaal, Shayne Anderson, Robbie Fruean, Kieran Fonotia, Kieran Fonotia, James Schrader, Tom Marshall. Reserves: Paea Fa'anunu, Adrian Barone, Mitch Graham, Ben Funnell, Jimmy Tupou, Matt Simons, Luke Whitelock, Matt Todd, Andy Ellis, Tyrone Elkington, Kolio Hifo, Stephen Burt.

The Timaru Herald