Crusaders with six new faces for Super Rugby opener

A new team and a new position for Seta Tamanivalu. Photo / Getty
A new team and a new position for Seta Tamanivalu. Photo / Getty

Fullback Israel Dagg will become the latest Super Rugby centurion when his Crusaders team take on the Brumbies in Christchurch on Saturday.

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson says Dagg's contribution has been impressive both on and off the field over the years.

"Izzy is obviously a talented individual, but he also impresses with his commitment and positive influence within the team environment," Robertson said.

"To reach 100 Super Rugby games is testament to both his undeniable skill set and determination to play at an elite level."

Robertson has also named six Crusaders debutants in his side to face the Brumbies - halfback Bryn Hall, wingers George Bridge and Seta Tamanivalu, centre Jack Goodhue and Whetu Douglas at No.8.

Halfback Ere Enari is set to make his debut from the bench.

Robertson's forward pack is brimming with experience, headed by props Joe Moody and Owen Franks, and hooker Ben Funnell.

Scott Barrett and new captain Sam Whitelock will start at lock while loose forwards Jordan Taufua and Matt Todd will be joined by Douglas at No.8.

The Brumbies have four new players in their run-on side, with three more on the bench.

Flanker Chris Alcock, centre Kyle Godwin and Kiwis Nic Mayhew (prop) and Wharenui Hawera (first five) will all get their first Brumbies start in a side containing eight Wallabies, with forward Lolo Fakaosilea and backs De Wet Roos and Isaac Thompson potential debutants off the bench.

Crusaders: Israel Dagg, Seta Tamanivalu, Jack Goodhue, Ryan Crotty, George Bridge, Richie Mo'unga, Bryn Hall, Whetu Douglas, Matt Todd, Jordan Taufua, Sam Whitelock (captain), Scott Barrett, Owen Franks, Ben Funnell, Joe Moody.

Reserves: Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett, Michael Alaalatoa, Luke Romano, Pete Samu, Ere Enari, Mitchell Hunt, David Havili.

Brumbies: Aidan Toua, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Kyle Godwin, James Dargaville, Wharenui Hawera, Joe Powell, Jordan Smiler, Chris Alcock, Scott Fardy, Sam Carter (capt), Rory Arnold, Allan Alaalatoa, Josh Mann-Rea, Nic Mayhew.

Reserves: Robbie Abel, Ben Alexander, Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, Tom Staniforth, Lolo Fakaosilea, De Wet Roos, Andrew Smith, Isaac Thompson

- AAP

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