June 1 (Reuters) – The Canterbury Crusaders have recalled playmaker Richie Mo’unga along with fellow All Blacks Codie Taylor and Jack Goodhue for Friday’s Super Rugby quarter-final against the Queensland Reds in Christchurch.
Mo’unga replaces Fergus Burke, who was dropped from the matchday squad after scoring a try and having a perfect night off the kicking tee as starting flyhalf in a 28-15 home win over the Reds last week.
Taylor reclaims the number two jersey from Matthew Faessler who was injured early against the Reds, while Goodhue slots in at centre with regular midfield partner David Havili.
The Reds, who have not beaten the Crusaders in Christchurch in 23 years, will again miss the services of injured flyhalf James O’Connor, with Lawson Creighton to retain the number 10 shirt.
Co-captain Liam Wright will start at openside flanker after returning from a long injury layoff from the bench last week, while centre Hunter Paisami has been recalled in the reserves after recovering from a shoulder problem.
Scott Robertson’s Crusaders are heavily backed to knock out the Reds and sew up a semi-final spot as they look to claim a sixth championship trophy in as many years.
The Reds, coached by former All Black Brad Thorn, have remained camped in Christchurch following the defeat last week and slot777 attracted some heckling from local fans, co-captain McDermott said.
“No one is giving us a chance and it’s something we’ve really bounced off,” the Wallabies scrumhalf said.
“Everywhere you go someone is throwing a bit of chat or wanting a photo. It’s good to be in a rugby town and guys like (flanker) Fraser (McReight) enjoy heckling back.” (Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Robert Birsel)