The Crusaders have suffered a big blow ahead of their crucial clash with the Chiefs in Hamilton tomorrow, with All Blacks' prop Owen Franks ruled out with a hamstring strain.
Franks returned to the Crusaders with a hamstring strain following the All Blacks' wider training camp in Mt Maunganui over the weekend. Rookie Nepo Laulala has been named to start at tighthead prop in his place.
Hooker Codie Taylor will also make his first start of the season after Corey Flynn and Ben Funnell were ruled out through injury.
Another casualty of the All Blacks' camp was Chiefs tighthead prop Ben Afeaki, who returned with a calf strain. He has been replaced by Ben Tameifuna.
Crusaders team to play the Chiefs at Waikato Stadium, Hamilton. on Friday (7.35pm): Israel Dagg, Tom Marshall, Ryan Crotty, Tom Taylor, Zac Guildford, Dan Carter, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read (c), Matt Todd, George Whitelock, Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano, Nepo Laulalam, Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Ben Funnell/Laurence Corlett, Joe Moody, Dominic Bird, Luke Whitelock, Willi Heinz, Robbie Fruean, Telusa Veianu.