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Ellis to bring up 150 Super Rugby matches

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 18/05/2016

Andy Ellis of the Crusaders passes the ball during the Super Rugby trial match between the Highlanders and the Crusaders at Fred Booth Park on February 11, 2016 in Waimumu, New Zealand © Rob Jefferies/Getty Images Andy Ellis of the Crusaders passes the ball during the Super Rugby trial match between the Highlanders and the Crusaders at Fred Booth Park on February 11, 2016 in Waimumu, New Zealand Halfback Andy Ellis will bring up 150 Super Rugby games for the Crusaders when he runs out against the Waratahs in Christchurch.

he 28-Test All Black will become the third player to reach that mark for the Crusaders, joining hooker Corey Flynn and prop Wyatt Crockett.

Coach Todd Blackadder says the whole team want Saturday night to be a memorable occasion for the 32-year-old Ellis, who made his debut for the franchise in 2006.

"Andy is such a popular member of this team and we all want this to be a memorable night for him for all the right reasons," he said.

"It's particularly special for Andy to mark this milestone in front of a home crowd."

Blackadder has made two changes to his starting line-up after the Crusaders' eight-match winning streak was snapped by a 34-26 defeat to the defending champion Highlanders last weekend.

Both involve player rotations, with second five-eighth Ryan Crotty and prop Joe Moody coming in for David Havili and Crockett, who go to bench.

Despite the loss to their southern neighbours, the Crusaders remain on top of the overall competition table, but only just.

In a tight New Zealand conference, the Crusaders lead the Chiefs and Highlanders by just points difference, while the Hurricanes are only a point further back.

The Waratahs have won their past four matches to head the Australian conference.

Crusaders: Israel Dagg, Johnny McNicholl, Kieron Fonotia, Ryan Crotty, Jone Macilai, Richie Mo'unga, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read (captain), Matt Todd, Jordan Taufua, Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Codie Taylor, Joe Moody. Reserves: Ged Robinson, Wyatt Crockett, Mike Alaalatoa, Scott Barrett, Tim Boys, Mitchell Drummond, David Havili, Marty McKenzie.

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