Crusaders suffer double injury blow ahead of Highlanders clash

All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock, who left the field early in the Hurricanes' 29-19 win last week after a head knock, has been ruled out after developing "minor symptoms" late on Thursday.

This has meant he couldn't complete the post-concussion return to play process this week, the Crusaders said in a statement.

Luke Romano will start alongside Scott Barrett, with Quinten Strange brought on to the bench. Matt Todd will now captain the side and Tim Bateman will be vice- captain.

Utility Mike Delany has jarred his knee at training on Thursday and will also miss this weekend's game, with Brett Cameron brought into the match-day 23 as first five-eighth cover.