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Crusaders lose Dagg for six weeks

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 15/03/2017

The Crusaders will tackle the next six weeks of Super Rugby without fullback Israel Dagg as he recovers from knee surgery.

Dagg was injured in last week's 22-20 victory over the Reds in Brisbane, with an MRI scan confirming a posterior cruciate ligament and lateral meniscal tear to his right knee.

"He has been seen by a specialist who has recommended a small operation to assist his recovery," the Crusaders said in a statement.

"He is expected to be ready to return to play in approximately six weeks."

Coach Scott Robertson has made seven changes to the starting line-up which will take on the Blues in Christchurch on Friday.

Owen Franks returns at tighthead prop, while Jordan Taufua and Jed Brown join Whetu Douglas in the loose forward trio.

Bryn Hall will start at halfback this week against his former team, with Mitchell Drummond on the bench.

Manasa Mataele will make his Super Rugby debut, replacing injured uncle Seta Tamanivalu - out with a hamstring strain - on the right wing.

George Bridge will line up on the other wing, with Digby Ioane also ruled out after injuring a finger and David Havili steps into fullback for Dagg.

Wyatt Crockett will make his impact off the bench, providing prop cover alongside Michael Alaalatoa while Pete Samu provides loose forward cover, and Sean Wainui will cover the backs.

Crusaders: David Havili, Manasa Mataele, Jack Goodhue, Ryan Crotty, George Bridge, Mitchell Hunt, Bryn Hall, Whetu Douglas, Jed Brown, Jordan Taufua, Sam Whitelock (captain), Scott Barrett, Owen Franks, Codie Taylor, Joe Moody. Reserves: Ben Funnell, Wyatt Crockett, Michael Alaalatoa, Luke Romano, Pete Samu, Mitchell Drummond, Marty McKenzie, Sean Wainui.

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