The Crusaders welcome back All Blacks prop Joe Moody for this weekend’s Super Rugby semi final while the Hurricanes remain unchanged.
Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson has named his team for the match, and there is just one change from the starting XV that took the field against the Sharks in the quarter final last weekend.
The Crusaders’ welcome the return of All Blacks’ prop Joe Moody, who has recovered from injury to start at loosehead prop. Fellow All Blacks’ front-rower Tim Perry will provide cover on the bench.
“This game is going to be huge, it doesn’t get any bigger than a New Zealand derby match in the knockout stages of Super Rugby.’ Robertson said.
“Everyone who has worn the jersey for us this season has performed so this was the hardest team to name because of the great depth we have in our squad. Joe has worked extremely hard to get back in time for Finals footy, and he joins a powerful forward pack, who are ready for the challenge on Saturday night.”
“It’s always a privilege to play at home, but to host a semi final in front of our fans adds another level of anticipation and pride to the mix.”
The Hurricanes have named an unchanged starting XV.
After defeating the Chiefs 32-31 in last week’s quarter-final, Hurricanes head coach Chris Boyd has resisted the temptation to change a winning combination as they prepare to take on the defending champions.
The bench is also settled, although there is potential for one change with Ardie Savea bracketed with Reed Prinsep.
Savea has not played since he suffered a high ankle sprain in the All Blacks third test against France on June 23.
Boyd said Savea had worked extremely hard to return to the Hurricanes campaign and a decision on whether he would take his place in the match day squad would be made later in the week.
He was pleased with how the squad had prepared and played against the Chiefs but he recognised the challenge the Crusaders would provide the team.
Saturday’s semi-final will be prop Toby Smith’s 100th Super Rugby match having represented the Chiefs and the Rebels before arriving at the Hurricanes.
“Toby is one of those guys who just goes about his work without fuss or fanfare but he has been a really important factor in the Hurricanes this season,” Boyd said.
“We certainly congratulate him on becoming the latest Hurricanes player to reach the milestone.”