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Sam Whitelock ruled out for Crusaders

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 24/05/2016

The Crusaders will be without All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock for Saturday's Super Rugby visit to Eden Park to face the Blues. © Stefan Postles/Getty Images The Crusaders will be without All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock for Saturday's Super Rugby visit to Eden Park to face the Blues. Injury setbacks to two Crusaders forwards has taken the sheen off flanker Jordan Taufua's announcement he is staying for two more seasons.

Lock Sam Whitelock has been ruled out of Saturday's game against the Blues in Auckland with a hamstring complaint while another All Black, hooker Codie Taylor, is in doubt.

Taylor sat out training with a strapped ankle but a decision on his availability for the Eden Park game is still to be made.

Whitelock is definitely sidelined by an injury picked up during the 29-10 drubbing of the Waratahs last Saturday which left the Crusaders one point behind the Chiefs at the top of the Super Rugby standings.

Taufua, 24, is likely to play his 12th straight game and will continue a push for an All Blacks Test jersey if his bruising form continues.

"That's the dream, and I'll hopefully get there one day, but at this stage I'm just focusing on the Crusaders," he said.

The Counties Manukau flanker, who announced a two-year contract extension on Tuesday, said other New Zealand franchises had shown interest as he looked to secure his future.

"It's almost overwhelming that other people are looking and are very interested.

"I definitely took those into consideration but for me and my family, staying here was the right choice and it wasn't too hard to make."

Taufua has been among the Crusaders' best in 2016, barrelling over for tries in each of the last three games.

Renowned for his physicality, the former national under-20 forward says he is feeling increasingly at home at the Crusaders since his shift south in 2012.

Coach Todd Blackadder says Taufua's presence at the collisions is becoming a key feature for his team.

"He is an intimidating force for any opposition to come up against," Blackadder said.

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