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Halfback Drummond earns Crusaders start

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 9/03/2017

Halfback Mitchell Drummond will make his first start in more than six months when the Crusaders tackle the Reds in Brisbane on Saturday.

Drummond, who broke his left fibula in a Canterbury training drill last September, said it had been a tough road back to full fitness.

"It's never nice being injured and I am not a very good watcher," he said..

"We have got a really good medical team here who helped me through the whole process and I am loving (being able to) put the boots on every day and running around back on the grass."

Drummond made his return off the bench in last week's come-from-behind 30-27 win over the Highlanders, a game they looked to have thrown away when they trailed 6-27.

"It was pretty awesome - obviously for me personally, it was great to be back out on the field," Drummond said.

"A game like that does massive things for a squad, so we were stoked. We got ourselves in a tricky position, but it showed the character of the group we have got here to be able to dig ourselves out of that hole."

Drummond was excited about the prospect of partnering former Nelson College teammate and good friend Mitch Hunt in the halves for Saturday's clash.

"It's been a while since I have played with 'the wee fella' back at school.

"(We played) two years together at first 15 at nine and 10, so we know each other pretty well.

"It will be pretty cool running around with a good mate like, that doing what we love for a team we grew up supporting."

Digby Ioane will make his first appearance for the Crusaders this weekend, named on the left wing to appear against the team he represented 66 times from 2008-13.

The former Wallaby winger had a strong showing for the second-tier Crusader Knights last week, and assistant coach Jason Ryan said he had done a lot of work off the field.

"He had a good amount of game time, which was a positive, and he played well," Ryan said.

"He has had a bit of a niggle. We've done a lot of work off the grass so even though he has had that, it has been a chance for Diggers to understand our game plans and our shape."

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