SUPER RUGBY AOTEAROA GRAND FINAL
CRUSADERS vs CHIEFS, Saturday 5.05pm AEST at Orangetheory Stadium
Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has named an unchanged starting XV from the one that belted the Blues 29-6 last weekend.
There is, however, one notable change on the bench with the return from injury of All Blacks centre/winger Brayden Ennor.
Ennor replaces Manasa Mataele among the reserves after proving his fitness in club rugby.
“There were three coaches out there watching him,” Crusaders assistant Scott Hansen said.
“He played well, he looked dynamic. Used his feet well, defended well.”
Meanwhile, Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan has picked Pita Gus Sowakula at blindside flanker in a reshuffled forward pack.
Usually a No.8, Sowakula’s strong form made him irresistible as Luke Jacobson starts at the back of the scrum with Mitchell Brown at lock and Naitoa Ah Kuoi on the bench.
“Pita Gus is one of those guys who I thought was outstanding last week, so he really forced our hand,” McMillan said.
CRUSADERS (15-1): Will Jordan, Sevu Reece, Leicester Fainga’anuku, David Havili, George Bridge, Richie Mo’unga, Mitchell Drummond, Cullen Grace, Sione Havili Talitui, Ethan Blackadder, Sam Whitelock, Scott Barrett (c), Michael Alaalatoa, Codie Taylor, George Bower
Reserves: Brodie McAlister, Tamaiti Williams, Oliver Jager, Mitchell Dunshea, Tom Sanders, Bryn Hall, Dallas McLeod, Braydon Ennor
CHIEFS (15-1): Damian McKenzie, Jonah Lowe, Anton Lienert-Brown, Alex Nankivell, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Bryn Gatland, Brad Weber, Luke Jacobson, Lachlan Boshier, Pita Gus Sowakula, Mitchell Brown, Tupou Vaa’i, Angus Ta’avao, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Aidan Ross
Reserves: Bradley Slater, Ollie Norris, Sione Mafileo, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Zane Kapeli, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Rameka Poihipi, Chase Tiatia