Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder has made three changes to his starting line-up to meet the Highlanders in Christchurch on Friday night from the team that beat the Blues two weeks ago.

Ben Franks will start at tighthead prop in place of brother Owen, who will be on the bench, while Kieran Read has recovered from injury to return to No 8, which means Richie McCaw will play from the openside of the scrum and Matt Todd moves to the bench.

The Crusaders occupy fifth place on the overall Super Rugby standings with 46 points and remain well in contention for a top-six spot, while the Highlanders are seventh on 44 points, only one point shy of the sixth-placed Sharks.

Kick-off is at 7.35pm on Friday at the new AMI Stadium in Addington.


Crusaders: Israel Dagg, Adam Whitelock, Robbie Fruean, Ryan Crotty, Zac Guildford, Dan Carter, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw, George Whitelock, Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano, Ben Franks, Corey Flynn, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Quentin MacDonald, Owen Franks, Tom Donnelly, Matt Todd, Willi Heinz, Tom Taylor, Tom Marshall