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Todd break a setback for Crusaders

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Thursday, March 1, 2018    Getty Images

But the goal for the defending champions was simple in Robertson's thinking.

"It's really important we keep our rhythm and momentum, a bit of consistency," he said on Thursday.

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"They've got big men, an international-experienced forward pack and they're quality, playing good footy," he said.

Stepping up into Todd's boots will be Billy Harmon. He showed his ability when coming off the bench against the Chiefs last weekend and had been exceptional, Robertson said.

"He played well at the Tens and was incredible in the pre-season and off the bench as well. He deserves the opportunity, he is confident," Robertson said.

The injury to Todd was realised when he complained of a sore thumb after coming off AMI Stadium. The doctor got an X-ray done and it revealed the break.



"It's a bit of a shame because he was in great form," Robertson said.

The champions now have six All Blacks on the sideline: Kieran Read, Joe Moody, Owen Franks, Israel Dagg, Tim Perry and Todd.

There wasn't any room for sentimentality in the side named for the game. Lock Luke Romano may be set to make his 100th Super Rugby appearance, but Scott Barrett has been preferred to partner Sam Whitelock as the starting locks. Romano will come off the bench.

Robertson said of his 31-Test All Black Romano that he was 'an incredibly giving bloke, a real ideas man'.

"He's big, strong, a little bit old school in the way he plays but new school in the way he thinks, always challenging me around how we can do things better," he said.

Crusaders: David Havili, Seta Tamanivalu, Jack Goodhue, Ryan Crotty, George Bridge, Richie Mo'unga, Bryn Hall, Jordan Taufua, Billy Harmon, Peter Samu, Sam Whitelock (captain), Scott Barrett, Michael Alaalatoa, Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Andrew Makalio, Chris King, Oliver Jager, Luke Romano, Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, Mitchell Drummond, Mitchell Hunt, Manasa Mataele.