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Blackadder, Lio-Willie back for Crusaders

Updated: Apr 11

Ethan Blackadder Crusaders Super Rugby
Ethan Blackadder returns for the Crusaders after another injury break. PHOTO: DAVE LINTOTT PHOTOGRAPHY

New Zealand teams have been named for this weekend's Super Rugby Pacific clashes, with a few big names returning to sides.

Crusaders will have All Blacks loose forward Ethan Blackadder back to add some spine to their side to face the NSW Waratahs on Saturday as they aim to earn more victories.

The injury news was not as good elsewhere for the Crusaders, who also have loose forward Christian Lio-Willie back, but will have to wait a little longer for first-five Fergus Burke, who now has a tweaked calf, after recovering from an Achilles strain.

Captain Scott Barrett (finger), prop Tamaiti Williams (hamstring), and midfielder David Havili (calf) are expected back after the Australian tour.

The Hurricanes have veteran TJ Perenara starting the derby against the Chiefs in Wellington, the Canes’ first match since Cam Roigard suffered a season-ending knee injury.

Former Counties, Bay of Plenty and Wellington halfback Richard Judd has been named on the bench as Perenara’s back up for the best match of Round 8.

For the Chiefs, Wallace Sititi has been preferred to wear the No 8 jersey.

Sititi, the son of former Samoan international and Hurricanes representative Semo Sititi, will join All Blacks Luke Jacobson and Samipeni Finau in the back row against the Hurricanes.

Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan has settled on a backline laden with potent attackers, with Shaun Stevenson, Daniel Rona, Anton Lienert-Brown and Cortez Ratima among the starters.

Meanwhile, the Highlanders are back from a bye and face the high-flying Melbourne Rebels in Melbourne - a match which is proving more difficult than it might have prior to the season start.

Powerhouse prop Ethan de Groot starts on the bench and should give a push to the Highlanders later in the game.

Crusaders vs NSW Waratahs
Friday, 9.35pm at Allianz Stadium, Sydney

Crusaders: Chay Fihaki, Sevu Reece, Levi Aumua, Dallas McLeod, Johnny McNicholl, Riley Hohepa, Noah Hotham, Cullen Grace, Tom Christie (capt), Ethan Blackadder, Jamie Hannah, Quinten Strange, Fletcher Newell, George Bell, George Bower. Reserves: Brodie McAlister, Joe Moody, Owen Franks, Dom Gardiner, Christian Lio-Willie, Mitchell Drummond, Rivez Reihana, Macca Springer

Hurricanes vs Chiefs
Saturday, 7.05pm at Sky Stadium, Wellington

Hurricanes: Ruben Love, Josh Moorby, Billy Proctor, Jordie Barrett, Kini Naholo, Brett Cameron, TJ Perenara, Brayden Iose, Peter Lakai, Brad Shields (capt), Isaia Walker-Leawere, Caleb Delany, Tyrel Lomax, Asafo Aumua, Xavier Numia. Reserves: James O’Reilly, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Pasilio Tosi, Justin Sangster, Du’Plessis Kirifi, Devan Flanders, Richard Judd, Peter Umaga-Jensen

Chiefs: Shaun Stevenson, Emoni Narawa, Daniel Rona, Anton Lienert-Brown, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Damian McKenzie, Cortez Ratima, Wallace Sititi, Luke Jacobson (capt), Samipeni Finau, Tupou Vaa’i, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Reuben O’Neill, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Aidan Ross. Reserves: Bradley Slater, Ollie Norris, George Dyer, Jimmy Tupou, Kaylum Boshier, Xavier Roe, Josh Ioane, Rameka Poihipi.

Melbourne Rebels vs Highlanders
Saturday, 9.35pm at AAMI Park, Melbourne

Highlanders: Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens, Timoci Tavatavanawai, Jonah Lowe, Sam Gilbert, Jona Nareki, Ajay Faleafaga, Folau Fakatava; Nikora Broughton, Billy Harmon (c), Sean Withy, Pari Pari Parkinson, Oliver Haig, Saula Ma’u, Henry Bell, Daniel Lienert-Brown. Reserves: Ricky Jackson, Ethan de Groot, Rohan Wingham, Hugo Plummer, Will Stodart, James Arscott, Matt Whaanga, Connor Garden-Bachop


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