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Scott Waldrom

Scott Waldrom made his name as a tearaway openside flanker for Taranaki, the Hurricanes and the Chiefs from 2004-2012. Waldrom made one appearance for the All Blacks in the historic encounter against Munster in 2008. As a sevens specialist, Waldrom played for the All Blacks Sevens from 2004-10. Waldrom has now turned his hand to coaching and continues to be involved in rugby from the grassroots up.

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Centre relishes starting chance

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Sportal.co.nz     19 Mar 2010     Getty Images

The strapping 22-year-old made 10 appearances for the Crusaders in his debut season in 2009 but seven of them were either on the left or right wing with Casey Laulala and Tim Bateman chosen ahead of him at centre.

The recruitment of Wellington's Robbie Fruean to the Crusaders this year has forced him to play second fiddle again and he had been named in the reserves for the first five rounds.

He is one of six changes made by Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder from the team which scored a gutsy 26-19 win against the Chiefs in Hamilton last Friday.

In the backs, Whitelock replaces Fruean and All Blacks first five-eighths Dan Carter gives way to Junior All Black Colin Slade, who has started or come off the bench to play at fullback for the first five rounds.

The forward pack has four changes with Ben Franks replacing Wyatt Crockett at prop, young Sam Whitelock locking instead of Brad Thorn, who has a sternum injury, and Jonathan Poff and Thomas Waldrom joining captain Richie McCaw in the loose forwards and replacing George Whitelock and Kieran Read, respectively.

Adam Whitelock has impressed in his short stints off the bench in earlier matches, consistently breaking the first line of defence and he is hoping to repeat that from the opening whistle.

"I'm pretty rapt to get a start after coming off the bench in the last five weeks. I think my long-term future is at centre and that's the position I want to make my No. 1 spot even though I've covered a bit on the wing and run a few times at second five-eighths," Whitelock said after the Crusaders completed their build-up on Thursday.

Whitelock said he realised Fruean was also a specialist centre but believed that led to healthy rivalry.

"When you're pushing each other it makes you work harder so that's good competition. We help one another out and we keep each other honest."

While Whitelock has accelerated away from or broken tackles in some cameo appearances this season, he modestly puts it down to his opponents being more tired, but he wants to make an impact from the start against the embattled Lions.

"My mindset for every game, whether I'm starting or on the bench, is the same as you could be on in the first minute. You've got to prepare as if you're starting and make sure you have the team pattern and game plan sussed out before you get on the track."

Crusaders back coach Daryl Gibson said Whitelock's selection in the run-on team was a reward for his strong performances off the bench.

"He's a very diligent professional and it's a good opportunity for him to get some decent game time."