Changed Crusaders likely for Sunwolves game

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Several All Blacks are due to take their required rest weeks including skipper and lock Scott Barrett, first five-eighths Richie Mo'unga, centre Jack Goodhue, prop Joe Moody and hooker Codie Taylor.

 

Among prospects for the game were Brett Cameron starting at first five-eighths with Development player Fergus Burke on the bench. Dallas McLeod was likely to get another start at second five-eighths with Braydon Ennor returning outside him.

 

Assistant coach Jason Ryan (pictured) said giving some of the lesser lights game time was suitable reward for the work they had been putting in.

 

"It's good because they've been training immensely hard over the last couple of months. So they get an opportunity and we've got every confidence in all of them," he said.

 

 

Not having to travel to Tokyo would mean the game would be played in hotter conditions in Brisbane where the temperature had been 34 degrees at the weekend with more humidity also likely.

 

Ryan said the Friday game against the Reds had been a good hit-out and a physical contest.

 

Just how physical could be seen from the 234 attempted tackles the side was forced to make, although missing 38 had been a concern.

 

"It was really physical, especially in the close contact stuff, it was the most tackles we'd made all year.

 

"We looked at why that was and why we were giving the ball back and so forth, so we've had a good review and have a pretty clear plan of where we need to move forward as a team from here," he said.

 

They hadn't held onto the ball as well as they might have, the set-piece had gone reasonably well and they were able to disrupt the Reds' lineout.

 

 

"That went really well, we were creating a lot of pressure there but it was how we put pressure back on teams, that was probably the big one," he said.

 

Training on Monday had been Ethan Blackadder's first time back running with the side since his shoulder injury playing for Tasman in the Mitre 10 Cup final but there was no update on when he might be ready to return to play.

 

"The work Ethan Blackadder has put in off the field has been immense, something he can be really proud of. He has done everything he can with the medical team and it was a nasty injury in that Mitre 10 final but typical Ethan, he's worked so hard. He's tracking along nicely," he said.

 

Whetukamokamo Douglas was back running and would be available for selection. Hooker Andrew Makalio had a niggly calf and he would be assessed later in the week after several days of training. He was a 50-50 chance at the moment.

 

 

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