Rugby: Donnelly gets rare start

Matt Todd, Dan Carter and Tom Donnelly of the Crusaders following the round 19 Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and the Chiefs. Photo / Getty Images.
Matt Todd, Dan Carter and Tom Donnelly of the Crusaders following the round 19 Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and the Chiefs. Photo / Getty Images.

Former All Black Tom Donnelly will make a rare start at lock for the Crusaders in their clash with the Hurricanes in Christchurch on Friday night.

With regular starter Luke Romano out of action with an ankle injury, Donnelly joins Sam Whitelock in the second row in the only change to the Crusaders starting side that accounted for the Chiefs, 43-15, last weekend.

The last time Hurricanes and Crusaders met was back in round four of the Super Rugby competition in March when the Hurricanes pipped the Crusaders 29-28 thanks to a late intercept try from Alapati Leiua.

The Crusaders are fourth on the ladder and will be looking for a win against the 11th-placed Hurricanes to secure home advantage in the early stages of the playoffs.

Meanwhile, Hurricanes halfback TJ Perenara left training at Rugby League Park in Newtown today with a knee complaint.

The No 9 went for scans this afternoon and if he was to be ruled out of Friday's game, Chris Smylie would likely start with Tongan international Samisoni Fisilau providing cover from the bench.

Crusaders: Israel Dagg, Tom Marshall, Ryan Crotty, Tom Taylor, Zac Guildford, Dan Carter, Andy Ellis; Kieran Read (captain), Matt Todd, George Whitelock, Sam Whitelock, Tom Donnelly, Owen Franks, Corey Flynn, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Ben Funnell, Joe Moody, Jimmy Tupou, Luke Whitelock, Willi Heinz, Tyler Bleyendaal, Telusa Veainu.

- APNZ

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