- George Whitelock captains Crusaders
- Todd Blackadder relishing England challenge
Photo: Getty Images
Crusaders Head Coach Todd Blackadder has included six capped All Blacks and plenty of burgeoning talent in his match-day 23 to face England at AMI Stadium on Tuesday evening (kick-off 8.35am BST, live on Sky Sports 1).
George Whitelock captains from openside flanker, brother Luke starting at No.8 alongside him. Hooker Corey Flynn and full back Tom Taylor also feature, while flanker Matt Todd and scrum half Andy Ellis bring international experience to a strong set of replacements.
Munster-bound Tyler Bleyendaal is handed the fly half berth, with in-form blindside flanker Jordan Taufua out to impress against Ed Slater's tourists from the off as well.
Blackadder said there is a real feeling of excitement among his charges about facing England.
“This is such a special occasion for so many reasons and the team has been absolutely buzzing in the lead up to this game,” he said.
“For our players this is a great chance to pit themselves against one of the world’s best international sides. For our fans, this will be a great spectacle and also a celebration of how far Christchurch has come.
“Local rugby fans were gutted when the earthquakes took away our opportunity to host England at the last Rugby World Cup, so it is fantastic to have the chance to host them now.
“We know the England team particularly wanted to make the effort to play in Christchurch while they were here and we are very grateful for that.”
Crusaders team to play England
15. Tom Taylor
14. Johnny McNicholl
13. Reynold Lee-Lo
12. Kieron Fonotia
11. Nafi Tuitavake
10. Tyler Bleyendaal
9. Willi Heinz
1. Tim Perry
2. Corey Flynn
3. Nepo Laulala
4. Jimmy Tupou
5. Joel Everson
6. Jordan Taufua
7. George Whitelock (captain)
8. Luke Whitelock
Replacements: 16. Ben Funnell, 17. Joe Moody, 18. Siate Tokolahi, 19. Scott Baldwin, 20. Matt Todd, 21. Andy Elliss, 22. Adam Whitelock, 23. Rob Thompson.