Rugby: Guildford fails to make Crusaders line-up

Zac Guildford. Photo / Getty.
Zac Guildford. Photo / Getty.

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder has sprung several surprises in naming his team to play the Chiefs in Christchurch on Friday.

Former All Blacks wing Zac Guildford, who is leaving for France at the end of the year, has failed to make the squad, with Blackadder selecting Nafi Tuitavake, a wider training squad player yet to play Super Rugby, to partner the quick Johnny McNicoll.

Tim Perry, who played for the Blues last season, will start at loosehead prop, with Wyatt Crockett on the reserves bench.

All Black Tom Taylor is also in the reserves, with Tyler Bleyendaal preferred at No10. Ryan Crotty and Reynold Lee-Lo, who played for the Hurricanes last year, make up the midfield.

All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw will captain the team at openside flanker, partnering George Whitelock and Luke Whitelock in the loose forwards. Kieran Read will have this week off.

"We made it clear to players from the outset that our pre-season games would be viewed as trial matches. We thought it was important to start with a clean slate, put all players on an even footing and ask them to prove themselves before the season started. These players did that,'' Blackadder said.

Dominic Bird partners Sam Whitelock in the second row, with fellow All Blacks lock Luke Romano on the bench.

Crusaders team to play the Chiefs at AMI Stadium on Friday, kick off 7.35pm is: Israel Dagg, Johnny McNicholl, Reynold Lee-Lo, Ryan Crotty, Nafi Tuitavake, Tyler Bleyendaal, Andy Ellis, Luke Whitelock, Richie McCaw (c), George Whitelock, Dominic Bird, Sam Whitelock, Owen Franks, Corey Flynn, Tim Perry. Reserves: Ben Funnell, Wyatt Crockett, Nepo Laulala, Luke Romano, Matt Todd, Willi Heinz, Tom Taylor, Rob Thompson.

- APNZ

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