Rugby: Dagg a high-profile casualty for Crusaders

Israel Dagg is a high-profile casualty after the Crusaders' defeat to the Chiefs in Christchurch.

The All Blacks fullback has been dropped to the reserves bench for the match against the Blues at Eden Park on Friday night following the 18-10 loss to the defending champions.

Colin Slade, back from a bruised calf, starts at fullback, with Tom Taylor starting at No10 in place of Tyler Bleyendaal who has been dropped altogether. Bleyendaal missed all five of his shots at goal against the Chiefs and was replaced at halftime.

Kieran Read returns at No8 after resting last weekend, with Richie McCaw shaking off a calf problem to start at No7. Second-five Ryan Crotty has also recovered from a calf injury.

There is no room in the side for wing Johnny McNicholl, with wider training group player Rob Thompson starting in the No14 jersey.

Former Blues player Tim Perry retains his place at loosehead prop ahead of Wyatt Crockett.

Blackadder dropped Dagg, a consistently good performer for the All Blacks, last year after a run of mediocre matches but has acted much earlier this season.

Crusaders team to play the Blues at Eden Park on Friday, kick-off 7.35pm is: Colin Slade, Rob Thompson, Reynold Lee-Lo, Ryan Crotty, Nafi Tuitavake, Tom Taylor, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read (c), Richie McCaw, 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, Adam Whitelock, Israel Dagg.

- APNZ

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