“No fear” force loose forward Ollie Colon will make his first Super Rugby debut against the Crusaders on Friday night.
Keep checking in for all the latest Trans-Tasman Round Four team news.
Super Rugby Trans-Tasman, Round 4
Crusaders vs. Force, Friday at 5.05pm AEST in Christchurch
The Crusaders are resting All Blacks stars Richie Mounga, Sam Whitlock and Sevu Rees for the opening match of the fourth round on Friday.
Test hopeful George Bower will also sit out as coach Scott Robertson manages his squad through some heavy workloads.
Young five-eighth Fergus Burke and giant prop Tamaiti Williams will make their first Crusaders start, while Manassa Matele gets a run on the right wing.
“One of the things about rotating your All Black players and keeping them fresh is that it gives someone else the opportunity,” Robertson said.
“Those guys have trained very hard, and they deserve their opportunity this week, so it’s great to see the energy and enthusiasm for this sport.”
Meanwhile, force loose forward Ollie Colon will make his first Super Rugby debut after being selected to replace Tim Anstey at No.
London-born, Perth-born 20-year-old Callen has played seven games off the bench for Force.
“It’s great to have a local lad who has come our way to have the opportunity to make his debut as a run-on player against the Crusaders,” Force coach Tim Sampson said.
“He brings a lot of energy and has no fear. We’ll be looking for physicality, that’s the kind of reaction we need on both sides of the ball. We need to be more aggressive.”
Among other changes, fullback Jake Strachan replaces Rob Kearney, Tavita Kuridrani returns to the backline for Jordan Olovofella, and hooker Feletti Catuou returns for Andrew Ready.
Kuridrani starts from the outer centre, with Richard Kahui exiting the left wing in place of Olovofella.
Kearney failed his HIA test after being defeated by the Storm.
Crusaders (15-1): Will Jordan, Manassa Mattele, Braydon Ennore, David Haviley, Leicester Fangananuku, Fergus Burke, Brian Hall, Cullen Grace, Zion Havily Talitui, Waitukamokamo Douglas, Mitchell Dunshi, Scott Barrett (c), Michael Allatoa, Cody Taylor, Williams Children
Stores: Nathan Vella, Isili Tu’ungfussi, Oliver Jagger, Luke Romano, Tom Sanders, Mitchell Drummond, Dallas McLeod, Josh McKay
Force (15-1): Jake Strachan, Tony Pulu, Tavita Kuridrani, Kyle Godwin (c), Richard Cahui, Domingo Miotti, Tomas Cubelli, Ollie Callan, Ken Coteca, Fergus Lee-Warner, Sitaleki Timoney, Jeremy Thrush, Santiago Medrano, Feletti Caturau, Tom robertson
Stores: Andrew Ready, Angus Wagner, Greg Holmes, Ryan McCauley, Tim Anstey, Ian Prior, Jake McIntyre, Jordan Olovofella
Referee: Ben O’Keefe (New Zealand)
Reds vs. Blues, Friday at 7.45pm AEST in Brisbane
Reds coach Brad Thorne has the luxury of naming an unchanged starting side for Friday’s clash with the Blues at Suncorp Stadium.
With no fresh injuries, Thorne is rewarded with the same XV That marked Australia’s first Trans-Tasman win of the season against the Chiefs last weekend.
However, there have been three changes to the bench with Angus Blythe, Sam Wallis and Moses Sorowi.
“We are at home in front of our Queensland supporters for the last time this year,” Thorne said.
“It was nice to win in Townsville in a good fight with the Chiefs and we’re looking forward to the same against the Blues this week.”
Meanwhile, the ladder-leading Blues have named a powerful side with the return of captain Patrick Tuipulotu to the starting lineup.
The All Blacks’ lock has been off the bench over the past two weeks, with flanker Tom Robinson serving as captain.
“We’ve graduated him back,” said Blues coach Leon Macdonald.
“It was a significant injury, eight weeks with a sore throat, and we didn’t want to have him back too soon.”
McDonald’s also has the luxury of bringing Test No. 8 Hoskins Sotutu off the bench, treating the Blues as a do-or-die struggle if they are to qualify for the June 19 final.
Instead Akira Ioane would start from the back of the scrum.
“There’s not much in it between the two,” Macdonald said.
“Aki got the nod just because of his defensive physicality … but expect to see Hoskins early too. We’re lucky to have two pretty special players who are able to use them the way we do.”
Reds (15-1): Bryce Hegarty, Suliasi Vunivalu, Hunter Paisami, Isaac Henry, Filippo Daugunu, James O’Connor (co-captain), Tate McDermott, Harry Wilson, Liam Wright (co-c), Angus Scott-Young, Lukhan Salkaya-Lotto, Ryan Smith, Daniel Tupo, Brandon Penga-Amosa, Fayo Fotuica
Stores: Josh Nassar, Dan Zander, Zayn Nonggor, Angus Blyth, Sam Wallis, Moses Sorowi, Hamish Stewart, Elisa Droesz
Blues (15-1): Zarna Sullivan, Bryce Heim, Rico Ione, TJ Fayenne, Mark Telia, Otere Black, Finlay Christie, Akira Ione, Dalton Papali, Tom Robinson, Patrick Tuipulotu (c), Gerard Cowley-Tuotti, Ofa Tungafasi, Kurt Eklund, Karl Tu’ inukuafe
Stores: Sone Vikena, Alex Hodgman, Napo Loulala, Jacob Pierce, Hoskins Sotutu, Jonathan Ruru, Harry Plummer, AJ Lam
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Highlanders vs. Waratahs, Saturday at 5.05pm AEST in Dunedin
Referee: Damon Murphy (Australia)
BRUMBIES vs HURRICANES, Saturday at 7.45 pm AEST in Canberra
Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Chiefs star sees red for high shot
CHIEFS vs REBELS, Sunday at 1.35 pm AEST in Hamilton
Referee: Graham Cooper (Australia)
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