The Crusaders will be without the services of All Black stars Justin Marshall and Chris Jack in their Super 12 semifinal against the Investec Stormers in Christchurch on Saturday.
Scrumhalf Marshall has not recovered from a hip muscle suffered in the 24-9 win over the Stormers in Christchurch two weeks ago, while lock Jack was concussed after a high tackle last week and has not recovered from associated headaches.
Crusaders coach Robbie Deans will use rookies Jamie Nutbrown at scrumhalf and Ross Filipo at lock, giving the Stormers two untried targets.
The Crusaders will also be without number eight Mose Tuiali’i, who was sent off when the two teams last met for headbutting centre Marius Joubert.
He was subsequently banned for three weeks, forcing him to miss the rest of the competition.
The news on the Crusaders All Black centre Daniel Carter, who suffered a cut above the eye against the Hurricanes, was much more positive for home supporters. He was cleared to play – along with fellow midfielder Aaron Mauger.
Mauger, who also missed the loss to the Hurricanes after aggravating his right shoulder/neck injury against the Stormers in Week 11, comes back into the side in the place of Casey Laulala, who reverts to the bench.
Crusaders: 15 Ben Blair, 14 Marika Vunibaka, 13 Aaron Mauger, 12 Daniel Carter, 11 Caleb Ralph, 10 Cameron McIntyre, 9 Jamie Nutbrown, 8 Sam Broomhall, 7 Richard McCaw, 6 Reuben Thorne (captain), 5 Ross Filipo, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Greg Somerville, 2 Tone Kopelani, 1 David Hewett.
Replacements: 16 Corey Flynn, 17 Chris King, 18 Scott Hamilton, 19 Johnny Leo’o, 20 Corey Tamou, 21 Andrew Mehrtens, 22 Casey Laulala.