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Read and McCaw to start for Crusaders

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crusaders.co.nz     26 Feb 2014     Getty Images

There are four changes to the starting line-up that faced the Chiefs last week.

Kieran Read returns for his first start of the season to play at number 8 and captain the side. Richie McCaw and George Whitelock are the starting openside and blindside flankers, and Matt Todd will again provide support from the bench.

Rob Thompson will be the 175th player to make his Crusaders debut when he takes the wing on Friday night. Nafi Tuitavake will make just his second start on the other wing.

Tom Taylor, who played the second half against the Chiefs last week, starts at first five this week. Colin Slade has recovered from his bruised calf to start at fullback, with Israel Dagg ready to make an impact off the bench.

The team fly to Auckland tomorrow and kick-off at Eden Park is at 7:35pm Friday night.

Crusaders: Colin Slade, Rob Thompson, Reynold Lee-Lo, Ryan Crotty, Nafi Tuitavake, Tom Taylor, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read (c), Richie McCaw, George Whitelock, Sam Whitelock, Dominic Bird, Owen Franks, Corey Flynn, Tim Perry. Reserves: Ben Funnell, Wyatt Crockett, Nepo Laulala, Luke Romano, Matt Todd, Willi Heinz, Adam Whitelock Israel Dagg.