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Sam Whitelock returns for the Crusaders

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crusaders.co.nz     10 Jul 2014     Getty Images


Lock Sam Whitelock, who was a late withdrawal from last week’s team, has returned to the starting line-up, which means Jimmy Tupou is on the bench. The rest of the line-up is the same as that which beat the Blues last weekend.

Eighteen weeks of competition culminate in this southern derby on Saturday night. It is the final round of pool play and will determine log placings and qualifiers for the play-off rounds. While the Crusaders are already guaranteed a play-off spot, they are also working towards a second place qualification that would see them proceed directly to a home semi-final.

“That will require us to beat the Highlanders and beat them well,” Blackadder said. “The Highlanders are also a gutsy side though and we know that they will be putting everything they've got into this encounter. We are going to have to put in the performance of the season to come out on top, and that is exactly what the team has committed to doing.”

Crusaders: Israel Dagg, Kieron Fonotia, Ryan Crotty, Dan Carter, Nemani Nadolo, Colin Slade, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read (c), Matt Todd, Jordan Taufua, Sam Whitelock, Dominic Bird, Owen Franks, Ben Funnell, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Corey Flynn, Joe Moody, Nepo Laulala, Jimmy Tupou, Luke Whitelock, Willi Heinz, Tom Taylor, Johnny McNicholl.