Sam Whitelock to miss Blues game

The Crusaders will be without captain Sam Whitelock for tomorrow's Super Rugby clash with the Blues at Eden Park but they welcome back another All Black in co-captain Ryan Crotty.

Vice-captain Crotty will link with Jack Goodhue in the midfield.

The Crusaders have made six changes and one positional switch from the side that beat the Waratahs last week.

In the front row, Tim Perry makes his return from a hamstring injury and will start at loosehead prop. All Black Owen Franks also returns to the starting side this week, and Mike Alaalatoa moves to the reserves.

Quinten Strange steps in to the starting team this week in place of regular captain Sam Whitelock at lock, with flanker Matt Todd to lead the side in his absence. The only other change in the forward pack sees Heiden Bedwell-Curtis take the starting spot in the No. 6 jersey, and Pete Samu will provide cover on the bench.

Outside back George Bridge will shift from fullback to the left wing for this game, and David Havili will wear the No. 15 jersey. Manasa Mataele, having recovered from the head knock he suffered against the Waratahs, takes a spot on the bench.

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson explained Whitelock's absence.

"He wasn't feeling great early in the week, so we just made a call - to give him a chance to freshen-up."

Crusaders: David Havili, Seta Tamanivalu, Jack Goodhue, Ryan Crotty, George Bridge, Richie Mo'unga, Bryn Hall, Jordan Taufua, Matt Todd (captain), Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, Quinten Strange, Scott Barrett, Owen Franks, Codie Taylor, Tim Perry. Reserves: Andrew Makalio, Wyatt Crockett, Mike Alaalatoa, Mitchell Dunshea, Pete Samu, Mitchell Drummond, Mitchell Hunt, Manasa Mataele.