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- 1st Jun 2012
- KO 08:35
- Ground: AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Crusaders v Highlanders: Teams
At AMI Stadium, Friday June 1, kick-off 08.35 BST
The refreshed Crusaders welcome back number eight Kieran Read for Friday's crucial Super Rugby clash against the Highlanders in Christchurch.
Read has recovered from a badly bruised pelvic bone suffered in the upset defeat against the Rebels in Melbourne three weeks ago.
The World Cup-winning All Black takes Richie McCaw's place at the back of the scrum with the captain moving to openside flanker, relegating Matt Todd to the bench.
"I'm back to normal now," said Read, who had captained the Crusaders for the first 11 rounds in the absence of McCaw.
"I landed in an awkward position - right on the bone at the back of the hip.
"I was in a bit of a shock and pain initially and it was pretty scary, but I'm thankful it was only a minor injury."
In other changes to side which thumped the Blues 59-12 a fortnight ago, Ben Franks will start at tighthead prop instead of younger brother Owen.
Read said it was crunch time for the Crusaders with the Highlanders in seventh place and just two points behind them on the table.
"It's no secret the way they play and how they attack teams. We took a step forward at our last outing and there can be no backward steps now," he said.
"It's an exciting challenge and obviously a make or break time for both teams heading into the bye period.''
The Highlanders have made four changes to their starting pack and five changes to the run-on team that played the Blues last week.
Chris King returns to the front row replacing Ma'afu Fia, who drops out of the 22.
Lock Josh Bekhuis and flanker James Haskell also return to the starting eight replacing Hoani MacDonald and Tim Boys respectively.
Nasi Manu also comes back into the starting XV at number eight, and Nick Crosswell moves to the reserves bench.
In the backs only one change has been made with Aaron Smith returning to the starting scrum-half spot ahead of Jimmy Cowan.
On the reserves bench Scott Fuglistaller drops out of the 22 for Tim Boys, and Kade Poki comes back into the squad replacing Kenny Lynn.
Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Adam Whitelock, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 George Whitelock, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Owen Franks, 18 Tom Donnelly, 19 Matt Todd, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Tom Taylor, 22 Tom Marshall.
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Kurt Baker, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 James Haskell, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Chris King, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Jamie Mackintosh (c).
Replacements: 16 Jason Rutledge, 17 Bronson Murray, 18 Nick Crosswell, 19 Tim Boys, 20 Jimmy Cowan, 21 Mike Delany, 22 Kade Poki.
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|Friday 27th March|
|06:35||Hurricanes vs Melbourne Rebels|
|09:00||Reds vs Lions|
|Saturday 28th March|
|05:30||Chiefs vs Cheetahs|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Stormers|
|08:40||Waratahs vs Blues|
|15:05||Sharks vs Western Force|
|17:10||Bulls vs Crusaders|
|Friday 3rd April|
|07:35||Hurricanes vs Stormers|
|09:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Reds|
|Saturday 4th April|
|07:35||Chiefs vs Blues|
|09:40||Brumbies vs Cheetahs|
|14:00||Sharks vs Crusaders|
|16:05||Lions vs Bulls|
|Friday 10th April|
|08:35||Blues vs Brumbies|
|Saturday 11th April|
|08:35||Crusaders vs Highlanders|
|10:40||Waratahs vs Stormers|
|12:45||Western Force vs Cheetahs|
|14:00||Bulls vs Reds|
|16:05||Lions vs Sharks|
|Friday 17th April|
|08:35||Crusaders vs Chiefs|
|Saturday 18th April|
|05:30||Hurricanes vs Waratahs|
|08:35||Highlanders vs Blues|
|10:40||Brumbies vs Melbourne Rebels|
|12:45||Western Force vs Stormers|
|16:05||Sharks vs Bulls|
|Sunday 22nd March|
|Waratahs 28 - 13 Brumbies|
|Saturday 21st March|
|Sharks 12 - 11 Chiefs|
|Bulls 25 - 24 Western Force|
|Crusaders 57 - 14 Cheetahs|
|Friday 20th March|
|Melbourne Rebels 16 - 20 Lions|
|Highlanders 13 - 20 Hurricanes|
|Saturday 14th March|
|Cheetahs 10 - 27 Sharks|
|Stormers 19 - 28 Chiefs|
|Reds 0 - 29 Brumbies|
|Highlanders 26 - 19 Waratahs|
|Crusaders 34 - 6 Lions|
|Friday 13th March|
|Western Force 17 - 21 Melbourne Rebels|
|Hurricanes 30 - 23 Blues|
|Saturday 7th March|
|Stormers 29 - 13 Sharks|
|Cheetahs 20 - 39 Bulls|
|Reds 5 - 23 Waratahs|
|Blues 10 - 13 Lions|
|Friday 6th March|
|Brumbies 27 - 15 Western Force|
|Chiefs 17 - 20 Highlanders|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Lions 19 - 22 Stormers|
|Bulls 43 - 35 Sharks|
|Melbourne Rebels 15 - 20 Brumbies|
|Chiefs 40 - 16 Crusaders|
|Friday 27th February|
|Cheetahs 25 - 24 Blues|
|Western Force 13 - 42 Hurricanes|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com