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Nadolo back to start for Crusaders

Friday, July 04, 2014

WELLINGTON - The Crusaders have wheeled their heavy All Blacks' artillery into the starting team to face the Blues in Christchurch.

Dan Carter will make his first start of the season in an unfamiliar role at inside centre while No.8 Kieran Read and prop Owen Franks will also run out after all three had made bench appearances in last weekend's 16-9 loss to the Hurricanes.

Also back is fullback Israel Dagg, recovered from a knee injury, and powerhouse winger Nemani Nadolo, who missed last week to play a Test for Fiji.

A sixth starting change is the promotion of Ben Funnell at hooker in place of Corey Flynn.

Coach Todd Blackadder has kept Colin Slade at five-eighth, meaning world-class pivot Carter will mark All Blacks juggernaut Ma'a Nonu in an intriguing battle of the No.12s.

Carter's promotion has prompted a backline reshuffle. Ryan Crotty shifts out one place to centre, pushing Kieron Fonotia onto the wing.

Both wingers from last week, Johnny McNicholl and Nafi Tuitavake are demoted, along with fullback Tom Taylor, No.8 Luke Whitelock and prop Nepo Laulala.

"Training this week has felt like the lead-up to a final," Blackadder said.

"There was a huge amount of disappointment following last week's loss."

Crusaders: Israel Dagg, Kieron Fonotia, Ryan Crotty, Dan Carter, Nemani Nadolo, Colin Slade, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read (capt), Matt Todd, Jordan Taufua, Sam Whitelock, Dominic Bird, Owen Franks, Ben Funnell, Wyatt Crockett. Res: Corey Flynn, Joe Moody, Nepo Laulala, Jimmy Tupou, Luke Whitelock, Willi Heinz, Tom Taylor, Johnny McNicholl.

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