Crusaders' ongoing Super Rugby campaign has been boosted by the return of All Blacks skipper Kieran Read ahead of their clash against Chiefs scheduled to be played at Eden Park on Saturday.
Read, who has played just six games this season has made sufficient recovery from a shoulder injury and his return at number eight means Whetu Douglas moves to blindside flanker with Jordan Taufua dropping down to the bench.
With Matt Todd rested for the encounter, Billy Harmon starts at number seven while Mitch Drummond and Braydon Ennor are also drafted into the XV replacing Bryn Hall and George Bridge, who now move to the bench.
“Fijian fans love their rugby, and the locals always provide a warm welcome to the team whenever we play here,” head coach Scott Robertson said.
“While this is a Chiefs home game, we are fortunate to have plenty of support in Suva, and look forward to the opportunity to connect with Crusaders fans over the next few days. We love playing in the heat, it’s something we’ll embrace in Fiji and make the most of the experience.”
Crusaders line-up: 15 David Havili, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Braydon Ennor, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Billy Harmon, 6 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 5 Sam Whitelock (c), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Andrew Makalio, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Isi Tu’ungafasi, 18 George Bower, 19 Mitchell Dunshea, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 George Bridge