Friday 21 July 2017

Crusaders name seven All Blacks in team to face the Lions

Samuel Whitelock and Head Coach Scott Robertson of the Crusaders (L-R) look on during a Crusaders training session at Rugby Park on June 8, 2017 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)
Samuel Whitelock and Head Coach Scott Robertson of the Crusaders (L-R) look on during a Crusaders training session at Rugby Park on June 8, 2017 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has named seven All Blacks in his side to take on the British and Irish Lions on Saturday with All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock set to captain the Christchurch based side.

All Blacks Joe Moody, Codie Taylor, Owen Franks, Luke Romano, Sam Whitelock, Israel Dagg and Wyatt Crockett have all been named in Robertson's 23-man squad with the aforementioned boasting an impressive 358 international caps between them.

After scraping by the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians in their opening game last weekend, the Lions were narrowly defeated by the Auckland Blues on Wednesday with substitute fly-half Ihaia West's late try proving to be the difference between the two sides at Eden Park.

The Blues were the worst performing Super Rugby team in New Zealand this season with only seven wins from 14 games, and now the Lions must head to Christchurch this weekend to take on the table topping Crusaders who sit atop of the Australasian Group with an unblemished record of 13 wins from 13 games.

Robertson said that Saturday's match with the Lions will be a special moment in his players' professional careers, and that while the Lions have some of the best international players in world rugby, the Crusaders also have their own collection of world beaters.

“This is a huge and exciting challenge for us. We are facing some of the best rugby players in the world, but we have some of the world’s best in this team too, so it will be a fantastic clash,” said the former Canterbury and New Zealand U20's coach.

“No matter how it unfolds, this will be a game that the players involved will remember as one of the special moments in their careers.

“Not that many players get the opportunity to play in a British and Irish Lions tour, and to do that in front of a sellout crowd at AMI Stadium in our Crusaders colours is going to be an awesome occasion for the team and for the fans in the stands.”

The Lions will play the Crusaders at Rugby League Park in Christchurch with the game set to kick-off at 08:35am (IST).

Crusaders team to play The British & Irish Lions:

Israel Dagg, Seta Tamanivalu, Jack Goodhue, David Havili, George Bridge, Richie Mo’unga, Bryn Hall; Joe Moody, Codie Taylor, Owen Franks, Luke Romano, Sam Whitelock, Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, Matt Todd, Jordan Taufua.

Replacements: Ben Funnell, Wyatt Crockett, Michael Alaalatoa, Quinten Strange, Jed Brown, Mitchell Drummond, Mitchell Hunt, Tim Bateman.

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