The Super Rugby big-wigs enter the frame this week, as the Crusaders take on the Blues in Auckland.
The Crusaders will travel to the Eden Park to take on the Blues, and the Auckland side will be looking for a second win, while the Crusaders enter the Super Rugby frame following a bye.
The Blues side remains unchanged from last week’s encounter with the Hurricanes, and coach John Kirwan said it was an easy decision.
“After the performance last week the guys can go around again so it was pretty easy,” said Kirwan.
The Crusaders will not be an easy obstacle in the Blues’ campaign, and the side will need to look to the experience of Ali Williams, Piri Weepu and Rene Ranger to spark some momentum.
Crusaders Head Coach Todd Blackadder has named the side that will be making their 2013 Super Rugby debut, and the usual suspects are in the line-up.
The forward pack features strong players all around, with Kieran Read captaining following a phenomenal 2012 season with the All Blacks.
The backline features the likes of Carter and Fruean returning, with the only real selection difference being Israel Dagg on the left wing as opposed to fullback.
Tom Taylor then moves into fullback, and rounds off a dangerous-looking backline.
Kick-off on Friday, 1st March 2013, at 8:30am CAT (SA, GMT+2).
Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Francis Saili, 11 George Moala, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Ali Williams (captain), 4 Culum Retallick, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tom McCartney.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Angus Ta’avao, 18 Liaki Moli, 19 Brendon O’Connor, 20 Bryn Hall, 21 Baden Kerr, 22 Jackson Willison.
Crusaders: 15 Tom Taylor, 14 Adam Whitelock, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Israel Dagg, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Dominic Bird, 19 Luke Whitelock, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Tyler Bleyendaal, 22 Tom Marshall.