Sunday, April 13, 2008

Rugby: Crusaders make changes as battle against Lions looms
The unbeaten Crusaders have made a massive eight changes to their side to take on the winless Lions in Christchurch on Saturday. While the opposition's record has something to do with it, injuries and suspensions have also had an impact.

There has been change and lots of it this week.

The All Blacks skipper gets a rest, meaning Reuben Thorne captains his first super rugby match since 2006, while George Whitelock becomes McCaw for a week.

"I've been turning up for four to five months," Whitelock said. "I finally get a crack, it's been a long time coming."

In the backs in-form centre, Casey Laulala will play his 50th match for the Crusaders. In contrast, Hamish Gard will make his debut in the number 10 jersey, following the injuries to the top line first fives. Injuries are not the only issue, Kade Poki and Kahn Fotuali'i missed a team practice and have paid the price.

"They breached team protocols and they've been stood down as a consequence," Robbie Deans said.

With top string fullback Leon Macdonald also on the injured list, the squad only has two, rather than three backs, to put on the bench come Saturday. Even then, Stephen Brett is doubtful after his shoulder troubles.

Someone said I was the expert in correcting links ; may I just add that I didn't correct these ones... This private joke to thank (AGAIN) all the girls for their help when I was away from the cyber world. I hope this won't happen again ; I'll think about a safety means to keep the news update if any other computer issue happens.

Pic : Deans take chances to revive team, sent by Izzy.

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