Crusaders stalwart Sam Whitelock will turn out in the Red and Black for his 150th appearance, against the Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday.
The All Blacks second-row is set to become the seventh player to bring up this milestone for the Christchurch-based club.
Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson has named his side for the Round Eight Super Rugby Aotearoa match and Whitelock, now in his 11th Super Rugby season, has also been named vice-captain for the encounter.
There are two changes in the forwards this week, with George Bower joining the starting side, and Isileli Tu’ungafasi providing cover at loosehead prop on the bench. Joe Moody will not travel to Hamilton with the side due to a family bereavement.
Flanker Sione Havili joins the starting side in the number six jersey, with Tom Sanders shifting to number eight in place of Whetu Douglas, who is recovering from a medial ligament injury.
There is just one further change in the back-line this week, with Mitchell Drummond earning a start, and Bryn Hall named on the replacements bench.
THEN & NOW | Couple special milestones coming up on Saturday* in Hamilton for Aaron Cruden (100) & Sam Whitelock (150).
Not a lot's changed since they made their @ChiefsRugby & @crusadersrugby debuts.
*If both are named today.#CHIvCRU pic.twitter.com/JMqaMUh1yO
— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) July 29, 2020
Fetuli Paea will once again line up in the midfield alongside Jack Goodhue, with Braydon Ennor still recovering from the toe injury he sustained in the Blues game.
Robertson said: “First and foremost, the thoughts of the Crusaders team and our wider organisation are with Joe Moody and his family at this very sad time, and we’ll certainly be thinking of them when we take the field on Saturday night.
“As a group, we’re also really proud to be celebrating Sam’s 150-game milestone this week, he is such a quality leader and a massive contributor to our team. He’s a proud Crusader, and I know the side is keen to show him plenty of respect with our performance.
“We had a really honest review following the Hurricanes game, and identified areas we need to get better this week. We’re coming up against a Chiefs side who have only been beaten by the smallest of margins so far in this competition, and will be desperate for a win in front of their home fans.”
Crusaders: 15 Will Jordan, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Fetuli Paea, 12 Jack Goodhue, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Tom Sanders, 7 Tom Christie, 6 Sione Havili, 5 Mitchell Dunshea, 4 Samuel Whitelock, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor (c), 1 George Bower Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Isileli Tu’ungafasi, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Quinten Strange, 20 Billy Harmon, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Brett Cameron, 23 Leicester Fainga’anuku
Date: Saturday, August 1 Venue: FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton Kick-off: 19:05 (08:05 BST, 07:05 GMT) Referee: Ben O’Keeffe Assistant referees: Paul Williams, Richard Kelly TMO: Glenn Newman
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