TODAY |

Cruden to play 100th Super Rugby match, Ta'avao returns for Chiefs against Crusaders

Aaron Cruden will notch his 100th Super Rugby match, starting for the Chiefs as they search for their first win of Super Rugby Aotearoa, taking on the Crusaders in Hamilton on Saturday.

Chiefs Aaron Cruden, during the Super Rugby match between the Blues and Chiefs, held at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand. 31 January 2020. Source: Photosport

The 31-year-old and 50-Test All Black starts in the number 10 jersey for coach Warren Gatland, having been benched in favour of Kaleb Trask in the Chiefs' recent matches.

Elsewhere, All Blacks prop Angus Ta'avao is back in the Chiefs' ranks, having spent six months on the sideline with a torn quadricep. He'll start on the bench, looking for his first minutes since January.

Shaun Stevenson returns to the right wing, following Solomon Alaimalo's shoulder injury suffered while scoring in last weekend's loss to the Blues. That change means Sean Wainui switches flanks from right to left in his place.

In the forwards, lock Naitoa Ah Kuoi returns to the bench, having picked up a concussion in the Chiefs' loss to the Hurricanes, while Waikato loose forward Simon Parker is named to debut in the number 20 jersey.

The Chiefs host the Crusaders in their final home match of 2020 on Saturday night.

Chiefs: 15. Damian McKenzie, 14. Shaun Stevenson, 13. Anton Lienert-Brown, 12. Alex Nankivell, 11. Sean Wainui, 10. Aaron Cruden, 9. Brad Weber, 8. Pita Gus Sowakula, 7. Sam Cane (c), 6. Lachlan Boshier, 5. Mitchell Brown, 4. Tupou Vaa'i, 3. Nepo Laulala, 2. Bradley Slater, 1. Reuben O'Neill.

Reserves: 16. Samison Taukei'aho, 17. Ollie Norris, 18. Angus Ta'avao, 19. Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 20. Simon Parker, 21. Lisati Milo-Harris 22. Kaleb Trask, 23. Quinn Tupaea.