All Blacks return for Crusaders

THE Crusaders have been boosted by the return of All Blacks Brad Thorn and Sonny Bill Williams for Sunday's clash against the Reds in Brisbane.

Lock Thorn came through 40 minutes of action in the victory over the Chiefs at Napier last Saturday after coming on for Chris Jack.

The 50-test veteran had previously been out for three weeks with a calf strain.

Williams returns after suffering a bruised knee against the Cheetahs two weeks ago which kept him out of the Chiefs game. He replaces Ryan Crotty at second-five.

In other changes, Owen Franks goes to tighthead prop ahead of brother Ben and Luke Romano moves to the reserves bench.

On the bench, Quentin MacDonald, who missed the Chiefs match with a sore lower back, is bracketed with David Hall.

And Matt Todd, who missed that game with a corked thigh, is bracketed with Joe Wheeler.

Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder said: "This promises to be a massive match. The Reds are unbeaten at home this season and are on top of the table. But we're looking forward to the challenge and I'm confident we'll give a good account of ourselves.

"I was pleased with the way we won against the Chiefs in Napier. This will be a different prospect entirely but we have the team to do well there."

Not considered due to injury were Israel Dagg (thigh), Sean Maitland (foot), Kahn Fotuali'i (knee), Adam Whitelock (chest muscle), Andy Ellis (thumb) and Sam Whitelock (ankle).


1. Wyatt Crockett, 2. Corey Flynn, 3. Owen Franks, 4. Brad Thorn, 5.Chris Jack, 6. George Whitelock, 7. Richie McCaw (c), 8. Kieran Read, 9. Willi Heinz, 10. Dan Carter, 11. Zac Guildford, 12. Sonny Bill Williams, 13. Robbie Fruean, 14. Brent Ward, 15. Tom Marshall

Reserves: 16. Quentin MacDonald / David Hall, 17. Ben Franks, 18. Luke Romano, 19. Matt Todd / Joe Wheeler, 20. Steve Alfeld, 21. Matt Berquist, 22. Ryan Crotty.

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