Robbie Fruean is set to win his 50th Super Rugby cap after being included in the Crusaders starting XV for Friday’s match against the Blues at Eden Park.
The outside centre joined the Crusaders in 2009 after making his debut for the Hurricanes and has scored over 65 points for the Christchurch side to date.
The forward pack for the Crusaders’ season opener has an established look about it, with Wyatt Crockett, Corey Flynn, Owen Franks, Luke Romano and Sam Whitelock making up the tight five. The back row consists of George Whitelock, Matt Todd and captain Kieran Read.
In the backs, Tom Taylor will take the field at fullback with Israel Dagg moving to the left wing and Adam Whitelock completing the back three.
Andy Ellis and Dan Carter form the halfback pairing, while Ryan Crotty partners Fruean in midfield.
Joe Moody and Dominic Bird have the opportunity to make their first appearance for the Crusaders if they are called upon from the bench.
Crusaders: 15 Tom Taylor, 14 Adam Whitelock, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Israel Dagg, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Dominic Bird, 19 Luke Whitelock, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Tyler Bleyendaal, 22 Tom Marshall.
Date: Friday, March 1
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 19.30 (8.30 GMT)
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Jonathon White (New Zealand), Sheldon Eden-Whaitiri (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)
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