Super Rugby
Crusaders bolstered by key names
ESPNscrum Staff
June 23, 2011
The Crusaders' Sonny Bill Williams looks for support, Crusaders v Sharks, Super Rugby, Twickenham, England, March 27, 2011
Williams was in sensational form when the Crusaders defeated the Sharks 44-28 at Twickenham in March © Getty Images

Centre Sonny Bill Williams and winger Sean Maitland both return to the Crusaders' starting line-up for their Super Rugby qualifier showdown with the Sharks in Nelson on Saturday.

Williams is back in the No.12 shirt after missing last week's victory over the Hurricanes due to a hip injury while Maitland is back on duty having recovered from a foot sprain suffered in the Crusaders' victory over the Stormers last month. Also returning to action for the knock-out clash is scrum-half Kahn Fotuali'i, who is named on the bench, but still missing are Richie McCaw (foot), Israel Dagg (thigh) and Adam Whitelock (chest muscle).

Williams replaces Ryan Crotty, Maitland comes in for Brent Ward, and Fotuali'i replaces Willi Heinz while Wyatt Crockett replaces Ben Franks at loose-head prop in the only other change.

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder was understandably delighted to welcome back some key names. "It's great to be able to welcome back Sonny, Sean and Kahn," he said. ""They've all been working extremely hard on their rehab to be fit for this match and they will get their reward on Saturday night.

"It's an exciting prospect. It's great to be going back to Nelson where we've enjoyed great hospitality this season and the challenge in front of us is clear-cut. We have to win to progress in this competition."

The match at Trafalgar Park is a sudden-death play-off, with the winners travelling to Cape Town to play the Stormers for a place in the final. It is also the second time the Crusaders and Sharks have played each other this season with the Kiwi side winning 44-28 in a high-profile clash staged at Twickenham in March.

Crusaders: Tom Marshall, Sean Maitland, Robbie Freuan, Sonny Bill Williams, Zac Guildford, Dan Carter, Andy Ellis, Wyatt Crockett, Corey Flynn, Owen Franks, Brad Thorn, George Whitelock, Sam Whitelock, Matt Todd, Kieran Reid (captain).

Replacements: Quentin MacDonald, Ben Franks, Luke Romano, Jonathan Poff, Kahn Fotuali'I, Matt Berquist, Ryan Crotty/Brent Ward.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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