The Canterbury Crusaders, the reigning Super Rugby Pacific champions, have been hit by injuries to two key players ahead of their clash with the unbeaten ACT Brumbies. Sam Whitelock, the totemic lock, broke his hand in last weekend’s victory over the Auckland Blues, while prolific winger Sevu Reece sustained a serious knee injury that could sideline him for the season. Crusaders’ coach Scott Robertson, who was recently announced as the next All Blacks coach, was already without several injured test players. Robertson said he would have a clearer idea of how long Whitelock and Reece would be out of action later in the week. Zach Gallagher will replace Whitelock in the second row, while Pepesana Patafilo will replace Reece on the right wing.
The ACT Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham has left out several test players for the match. James Slipper, Rob Valetini, Pete Samu, Nic White, and Tom Wright are all absent due to Rugby Australia’s World Cup resting policy. Larkham said that the team had to rotate players in some areas, but he trusts their depth and connection as a squad, and every player who gets on the plane knows the responsibility that comes with the jersey.