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Crusaders debut beckons for Ioane vs Reds

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 9/03/2017
Israel Dagg © Getty Images Israel Dagg

Former Wallabies winger Digby Ioane will pull on the Crusaders jumper for the first time against his old club the Reds on Saturday.

Ioane, 31, left the Reds for French club Stade Francais in late 2013 before heading to Japan to play for Honda Heat last year.

He'll now make his Crusaders debut on his old stomping ground in Brisbane after recovering from a hip issue and is named on the left wing.

Last week's try-scoring hero Seta Tamanivalu moves back to the right flank, while Test stalwart Israel Dagg returns to his preferred fullback role.

David Havili has been left out of the matchday XXIII entirely due to injury.

Two other Crusaders recruits are set to make their club debuts in Queensland, with Heiden Bedwell-Curtis and Oliver Jager stepping into the side.

Bedwell-Curtis, a recruit from provincial side Manawatu, will take on the openside role after Test incumbent Matt Todd was ruled out with a calf strain.

Pete Samu also slots in at blindside in place of Jordan Taufua.

The other debutant, Jager, will start as cover at tighthead after All Blacks stalwart Owen Franks was left out of the travelling party.

Michael Alaalatoa has been promoted from the bench to take Franks' place, while Tim Perry will serve as bench cover for loosehead Joe Moody.

Wyatt Crockett has also been rested after falling ill during the week.

Elsewhere, Mitchell Drummond has been selected over Bryn Hall at halfback, with young gun Mitchell Hunt retaining his place at first-five.

Incumbent playmaker Richie Mo'unga will be out for at least another month after undergoing surgery on a broken hand.

All Blacks skipper Kieran Read remains out until mid-April with a wrist issue.

CRUSADERS: Israel Dagg, Seta Tamanivalu, Jack Goodhue, Ryan Crotty, Digby Ioane, Mitchell Hunt, Mitchell Drummond, Whetu Douglas, Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, Pete Samu, Sam Whitelock (c), Scott Barrett, Michael Alaalatoa, Codie Taylor, Joe Moody. RESERVES: Ben Funnell, Tim Perry, Oliver Jager, Luke Romano, Jordan Taufua, Bryn Hall, Marty McKenzie, George Bridge.

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