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Slade chosen at five-eighth for Crusaders

Published: 1:35PM Wednesday March 12, 2014 Source: ONE Sport

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder has given Colin Slade the job of trying to ignite the Crusaders backline from five-eighth for their Super Rugby clash against the Rebels.

Slade will be the third different playmaker used by the Crusaders this season, with Tom Taylor shifting out to second five for Friday's game.

Rey Lee-Lo has been dropped from the 23 altogether, meaning Ryan Crotty shifts to centre, while All Blacks fullback Israel Dagg is reinstated at No. 15, with new recruit Nemani Nadolo in line to make his debut off the bench.

There is just one change to the forwards with Ben Funnell starting at hooker this week instead of Corey Flynn, who is unavailable after suffering a fractured eye socket in last weekend's win over the Stormers. 

Codie Taylor enters the playing 23 for the first time this season to provide cover off the bench.
 
Nafi Tuitavake is the only player in the starting 15 who was not involved last week. He has recovered from a hamstring strain to take the right wing and Johnny McNicholl will take the left wing.
 
Andy Ellis takes the starting halfback spot again and, with Willi Heinz recovering from a calf injury, Mitchell Drummond has an opportunity to make his Crusaders debut if he comes off the bench. 

Kick-off is at 9.40pm (NZT) on Friday night.

Crusaders:1. Wyatt Crockett, 2. Ben Funnell, 3. Owen Franks, 4. Luke Romano, 5. Samuel Whitelock, 6. Luke Whitelock, 7. Matt Todd, 8. Kieran Read (c), 9. Andy Ellis, 10. Colin Slade, 11. Johnny McNicholl, 12. Tom Taylor, 13. Ryan Crotty (vc), 14. Nafi Tuitavake, 15. Israel Dagg.

Reserves: 16. Codie Taylor, 17. Tim Perry, 18. Nepo Laulala, 19. Dominic Bird, 20. Jordan Taufua, 21. Mitchell Drummond, 22. Kieron Fonotia, 23. Nemani Nadolo.

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