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Crusaders boosted by All Blacks front-row duo's return

Joe Moody and Owen Franks both return from injury to bolster the Crusaders front-row for Saturday's clash with the Brumbies in Christchurch.

The All Blacks duo's return means Harry Allan and Michael Alaalatoa move to the reserves for this game as Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson tinkers with his starting line-up after last weekend's triumph over the Hurricanes in Wellington.

At lock, Quinten Strange and Sam Whitelock will swap this week, so that Strange takes the starting spot and Whitelock is on the bench.

Matt Todd will captain the side in the number seven jersey.

The only other change in the forwards sees Ethan Blackadder earn his first Super Rugby start for 2019, at six in place of Whetu Douglas.

In the backs, Mitchell Drummond is the starting scrum-half this week and Bryn Hall provides cover on the bench, while Sevu Reece has earned promotion from the bench to start on the left wing against the Brumbies.

Tim Bateman lines up at outside centre in what will be his 50th game for the Crusaders, while 19 year-old Leicester Faingaanuku is set to debut from the bench.

Franks will play his 150th Crusaders game this week (149th Super Rugby game).

This Saturday's match will be the Crusaders' first opportunity to unite the Christchurch community following the events of 15 March.

There will be a moment's silence before the teams run to field.

Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Tim Bateman, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Sevu Reece, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd (c), 6 Ethan Blackadder, 5 Quinten Strange, 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody

Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Harry Allan, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Sam Whitelock, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Brett Cameron, 23 Leicester Faingaanuku

Date: Saturday, April 6

Venue: AMI Stadium, Christchurch

Kick-off: 17:15 (05:15 BST, 04:15 GMT)

Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)

Assistant referees: Egon Seconds (South Africa), Paul Williams (New Zealand)

TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

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