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- 14th Jul 2012
- KO 08:35
- Ground: AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Crusaders v Force: Teams
At AMI Stadium, Christchurch, Saturday July 14, Kick-off 09:35 BST
Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder has left Sam Whitelock and Robbie Fruean out of his starting side that faces the Western Force on Saturday.
The men from Christchurch will be looking for a victory that would confirm a fourth-place finish in the regular-season before the play-off stages.
Blackadder has made three personnel changes to the side that beat the Chiefs last week, as Tom Donnelly, Sean Maitland and Matt Todd come in.
Meanwhile, Adam Whitelock makes a positional switch and is at 13 in place of a benched Fruean.
Kieran Read is missing this week due to a rib injury so Richie McCaw again trades openside for number eight, with Todd wearing number seven.
Veteran lock Nathan Sharpe has recovered from a back injury to lead the Western Force in his final Super Rugby match.
Sharpe was left out of the Force's game against the Blues in Auckland last weekend but has got through training this week to earn a spot against the Crusaders.
"My back's fine, I got through today's session and I should be right for the game," said Sharpe.
Saturday's match will be Sharpe's 162nd, a record number of appearances in Super Rugby, and will complete his rugby career by representing Australia in the inaugural Rugby Championship, which starts next month.
But the veteran forward admitted it will be emotional in Christchurch when he plays his last game for the Force.
"I've been focusing more on getting my injury right this week and so I haven't thought too much about it being my last game," Sharpe said.
"Tomorrow will be my last training session and then into my final game with the Force on Saturday - it's something that's exciting but bittersweet at the same time.
"As far as Saturday goes, you don't get a tougher challenge in Super Rugby than playing the Crusaders in Christchurch and it'd be fantastic to come over and put together a great performance against them."
The Force cannot make the Super Rugby finals so the Perth-based franchise have decided to try a number of different players prior to next season.
Prop Tetera Faulkner will get his first Super Rugby start, while Rory Sidey and Pat Dellit will combine in the centres for the first time.
Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Adam Whitelock, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Richie McCaw (c), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Samuel Whitelock, 19 Luke Whitelock, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Tom Taylor, 22 Robbie Fruean.
Western Force: 15 Alfie Mafi, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Patrick Dellit, 12 Rory Sidey, 11 Napolioni Nalaga, 10 Ben Seymour, 9 Brett Sheehan, 8 Lachlan McCaffrey, 7 Angus Cottrell, 6 Richard Brown, 5 Nathan Sharpe (c), 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Salesi Manu, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Tetera Faulkner.
Replacements: 16 Ben Whittaker, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 Pek Cowan, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 Josh Holmes, 21 Kyle Godwin, 22 Will Tupou.
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|Saturday 2nd August|
|Waratahs 33 - 32 Crusaders|
|Saturday 26th July|
|Waratahs 26 - 8 Brumbies|
|Crusaders 38 - 6 Sharks|
|Saturday 19th July|
|Sharks 31 - 27 Highlanders|
|Brumbies 32 - 30 Chiefs|
|Saturday 12th July|
|Stormers 10 - 34 Sharks|
|Lions 60 - 25 Cheetahs|
|Reds 3 - 34 Waratahs|
|Crusaders 34 - 8 Highlanders|
|Friday 11th July|
|Bulls 40 - 7 Melbourne Rebels|
|Brumbies 47 - 25 Western Force|
|Blues 8 - 11 Chiefs|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com