Sam Whitelock out, Crotty and Franks return for Crusaders' clash with Blues

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has made six changes to his side to face the Blues at Eden Park this weekend, including a return for star All Blacks Owen Franks and Ryan Crotty, while captain Sam Whitelock will not feature.

With Whitelock unavailable for selection this week, flanker Matt Todd will lead the side, while Quinton Strange comes into the starting line-up in the imposing lock's place.

Owen Franks returns to the front row, partnering with Tim Perry in what could shape as the All Blacks' front row for the June series against France, with Codie Taylor at hooker.

In the backline, Crotty's return to action will see him pair up again in midfield with youngster Jack Goodhue, while George Bridge switches from fullback to the left wing.

David Havili will run out in the number 15 jersey.

CRUSADERS: 15. David Havili, 14. Seta Tamanivalu, 13. Jack Goodhue, 12. Ryan Crotty, 11. George Bridge, 10. Richie Mo'unga, 9. Bryn Hall, 8. Jordan Taufua, 7. Matt Todd, 6. Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 5. Quinten Strange, 4. Scott Barrett, 3. Owen Franks, 2. Codie Taylor, 1. Tim Perry.

Replacements: 16. Andrew Makalio, 17. Wyatt Crockett, 18. Michael Alaalatoa, 19. Mitchell Dunshea, 20. Pete Samu, 21. Mitchell Drummond, 22. Mitchell Hunt, 23. Manasa Mataele.

Sam Whitelock tackled by Israel Folau
Waratahs v Crusaders Super rugby match at Allianz Stadium, Sydney Australia. Sunday 2 April 2017. Photo: Paul Seiser /
Crusaders lock Sam Whitelock tackled by Waratahs' fullback Israel Folau. Source: Photosport