Scott Barrett and Sam Whitelock set to return for Crusaders

The Crusaders have welcomed back world-class locks Scott Barrett and Sam Whitelock for their trans-Tasman derby with the Melbourne Rebels at AAMI Park on Friday.

All Blacks Barrett and Whitelock have both been named to return this week, and will pack down alongside each other in the second row.

Barrett will captain the side in his first Super Rugby Pacific appearance since the win over the Reds in Brisbane last month, while Whitelock returns to competitive rugby following a lengthy stint on the sidelines.

Whitelock injured his hand during the thrilling 34-28 win over the Blues at Eden Park in round three, but has been included as one of seven changes to the starting XV.

The Crusaders flew to Melbourne earlier this week ahead of their crunch clash with the Rebels. It’s the second time the title holders have played at AAMI Park this season after beating the Highlanders in Super Round.

Joe Moody, Codie Taylor and Tamaiti Williams have retained their spots in the front row, while Barrett and Whitelock round out the tight five.

Dominic Gardiner shifts from the second row to blindside flanker, and will pack down alongside fellow loose forwards Tom Christie and Christian Lio-Willie.

After impressing off the bench against Moana Pasifika, vice-captain David Havili comes into the starting side at inside centre. Havili will partner All Black Braydon Ennor in the midfield.

Quinten Strange and Cullen Grace will both look to provide some impact off the bench for the forwards, while Jack Goodhue and Dallas McLeod will look to do the same for the backs.