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Crusaders 33 v. Blues 20 (Full time)

This has all the makings of a classic derby. This is Canterbury versus Auckland, and in New Zealand provincial rivalries there is no bigger encounter, no more fiercely contested clash – a “match always eagerly anticipated by our players and supporters alike” according to Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder.

Len Kaplan – Rugby365

“The rivalry is one that is built on respect,” Blackadder says on the Crusaders website, adding: “The Blues play a fantastic brand of rugby. They have power and talent and their backs have always been really dangerous.”

The Blues and Crusaders have each won two out of three games, but the Blues have achieved both victories away from home after losing at home in Albany in Round One, while both Crusaders wins have been at home.

The Blues play their third consecutive game away from home and they will not find a warm welcome in Christchurch, particularly from a Crusaders team still smarting from their crushing 20-41 defeat to the Reds in Brisbane in Round Two.

Their convincing win over the Sharks last week took them some of the way towards redemption, but the Sharks have been consistently mediocre all year and Saturday will give the Crusaders a more accurate idea of their prospects for the year.

The match-up is tight – two good packs of forwards, two sets of backs capable of scoring tries, each with creators and finishers who can win matches. Set pieces will be hotly contested and collisions ferocious, with neither team likely to dominate.

But it may come down to goal-kicking, with referee Keith Brown certainly not one to shy away from penalties at breakdown.

The best news for the home team is that All Black and Crusaders skipper Richie McCaw returns to the starting XV, after a run-on from the bench against the Sharks last week. McCaw returns on the openside – a wonderful prospect for the Crusaders but sure to make life tough for the Blues.

He is one of the world’s great players, of course – and perhaps the best fetcher we’ve ever seen on a rugby field – but he has very limited experience of playing to the new law application at breakdown and his adaptation will be closely scrutinised by players and coaches world-wide. He is too accomplished a player not to adjust and continue to make a major impact on every game he plays, but just how the streetsmart McCaw goes about changing his approach will be fascinating.

This could be a long, challenging game for Blues flyhalf Stephen Brett, who faces his former team the Crusaders for the first time in Super 14 since he was drafted north.

The mercurial playmaker, who shifts between brilliance and mediocrity, plays opposite his former mentor Daniel Carter. Brett describes himself as having been an apprentice to Carter the master – and the Blues will endeavour to convince Brett that there is no more appropriate opportunity to emerge out of the shadow of the master and to establish himself as a great flyhalf in his own right.

In two teams of all round substantial ability, there are at least four exceptionally talented young players who deserve close watching as they begin to carve out major careers for themselves. Crusaders outside centre Robbie Fruean and left wing Zac Guildford, both 21, and Blues scrumhalf Alby Mathewson, 24, and outside centre, René Ranger, 23, have all shown the potential to become household names in New Zealand rugby.

And if anyone doubts how wonderful the atmosphere will be at the game, Blackadder will tell you how special their home stadium is. “I feel really proud to be in this position where I get to walk out on to such a fantastic stadium. What a fantastic facility. I’ve been to stadiums all around New Zealand and I think ours has the best atmosphere,” he said on the Crusaders website.

Super 14 results:
2009:
Crusaders won 15-13 (Auckland)
2008: Crusaders won 26-22 (Christchurch)
2007: Blues won 34-25 (Auckland)
2006: Crusaders won 39-10 (Christchurch)

rugby365.com Prediction: This is not an easy one to predict, with two highly talented, excellently coached and captained teams playing a derby which could just be a really memorable game. The Blues have shown they can win away from home, with victories in Dunedin and Brisbane in the last two weeks, but a Crusaders team playing in Christchurch, with Dan Carter in full flow and Richie McCaw back in the saddle, will take some beating. The Crusaders should win, but not by much – perhaps by five or 10 points.

Teams:

Crusaders: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read, 7 George Whitelock, 6 Richie McCaw (captain), 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Ti’i Paulo, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Corey Flynn, 17 Peter Borlase, 18 Isaac Ross, 19 Jonathan Poff, 20 Kahn Fotuali’i, 21 Adam Whitelock, 22 Colin Slade.

Blues: 15 Paul Williams, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Benson Stanley, 11 Rudi Wulf, 10 Stephen Brett, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Viliami Ma’afu, 7 Serge Lilo, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Anthony Boric, 4 Kurtis Haiu, 3 John Afoa, 2 Keven Mealamu (captain), 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Charlie Faumuina, 18 Filo Paulo, 19 Tom Chamberlain, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 22 George Pisi.

Referee: Keith Brown (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Josh Noonan (New Zealand), Kane McBride (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)

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41 Comments

  1. avatar

    JT

    March 6, 2010 at 8:38 am

    Will be very interesting to see how Stephen Brett does against his old team. This boy is going to push Carter for a spot in the AB team! :bowdown:

    ReplyReply
  2. avatar

    JT

    March 6, 2010 at 8:50 am

    McCaw factor – first ruck where he is involved in he goes in off his feet and stays on the wrong side BUT ref to scared to make the correct call and gives a PK against the Blues for holding on! :cuss:
    How can he place the ball with McCaw on the wrong side off his feet?

    :rant: :realangry: :bangheadt:

    ReplyReply
  3. avatar

    JT

    March 6, 2010 at 8:55 am

    Saders know how to finish off opportunities! Carter makes a half break and the wih slick hands they put Whitelock under the posts! :applause:

    ReplyReply
  4. avatar

    JT

    March 6, 2010 at 8:57 am

    OMG McCaw penalized at the ruck – ref almost swallowed his whistle when he saw WHO he penalized!!

    ReplyReply
  5. avatar

    The Brand

    March 6, 2010 at 9:08 am

    Reply to JT @ 8:50 am:

    Arrhhhgggggggggg

    ReplyReply
  6. avatar

    The Brand

    March 6, 2010 at 9:09 am

    Reply to JT @ 8:57 am:

    Bwahahahahahaaaa

    Penalized God McCaaaaaw :nono:

    ReplyReply
  7. avatar

    JT

    March 6, 2010 at 9:16 am

    McCaw got away with murder again – the ref this time saw who it was and made the “right call” :roll:

    ReplyReply
  8. avatar

    onerb

    March 6, 2010 at 9:18 am

    I’m sure the ref will answer to the NZRU afterwards or his indescretion.

    ReplyReply
  9. avatar

    onerb

    March 6, 2010 at 9:18 am

    for

    ReplyReply
  10. avatar

    Jacques(Bunny)

    March 6, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Reply to onerb @ 9:18 am: No he won’t

    ReplyReply
  11. avatar

    Jacques(Bunny)

    March 6, 2010 at 9:24 am

    So funny to hear the commentators saying the new interpretation of the laws will not force teams to ping pong, but that is what they are doing.

    ReplyReply
  12. avatar

    Deon

    March 6, 2010 at 9:26 am

    Reply to Jacques(Bunny) @ 9:24 am:

    Only the teams that do not have confidence in their support.

    ReplyReply
  13. avatar

    onerb

    March 6, 2010 at 9:27 am

    The lions irritated me no end with their constant ping pong yesterday. If it is a strenth use it, if not don’t. Doppies were gai ning metres everytime he attacked the line. Some kicks lost ground for the lions, yet they still kicked the whole time.

    ReplyReply
  14. avatar

    JT

    March 6, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Law interpretation creates a trend but does not influence a certain game in a direct way. the attitude of the players and coaches is the REAL factor on how a team plays. Lions were “ordered” to play the way they did! Late in the game when they were chasing the score they looked good with ball in hand. PLEASE Dick – let the guys run with it more!

    ReplyReply
  15. avatar

    Jacques(Bunny)

    March 6, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Reply to onerb @ 9:27 am: I agree, Lions showed the only way they play good rugby is for them to run the ball.

    Maybe it’s their new defense pastern for they did not conceded a forth try which is great for other teams.

    ReplyReply
  16. avatar

    onerb

    March 6, 2010 at 9:37 am

    When something isn’t working do other things.

    They were afraid to be in the Brumbies 22 as everytime when the got close some idiot tried an up and under/grubber/stab when all they need was to pick and drive and be patient!

    ReplyReply
  17. avatar

    onerb

    March 6, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Add to above- or francis tried a drop goal with a moer-of-a overlap!

    ReplyReply
  18. avatar

    onerb

    March 6, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Saders looking to lose this one.

    ReplyReply
  19. avatar

    JT

    March 6, 2010 at 9:39 am

    Lions will probably hit top form when facing the Bulls and Stormers and fook our chances of a semi – allthough the Stormers are doing that all by themselves again :roll:

    ReplyReply
  20. avatar

    JT

    March 6, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Reply to onerb @ 9:38 am:

    no confidence in his fellow players??

    ReplyReply
  21. avatar

    Jacques(Bunny)

    March 6, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Reply to onerb @ 9:37 am: Naas said after the game he believe the problem was that they did not have a plan B or did not follow plan B when plan A was failing

    ReplyReply
  22. avatar

    JT

    March 6, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Is it only my internet connection or is RW slow to load today? After every comment it takes ages to load!?

    ReplyReply
  23. avatar

    onerb

    March 6, 2010 at 9:44 am

    Jacques, it seemed that they didn’t have a plan at all, just kick, kick and if it doesn’t work, kick some more! It’s so 2009! Guess Dick didn’t turn the calender.

    ReplyReply
  24. avatar

    JT

    March 6, 2010 at 9:46 am

    intercept by Saders!

    ReplyReply
  25. avatar

    onerb

    March 6, 2010 at 9:47 am

    JT

    Second that, bombing out regularly. Could be because there is more than 4 people online at once Just kidding!

    ReplyReply
  26. avatar

    Jacques(Bunny)

    March 6, 2010 at 9:47 am

    In defense of Dick it was a total new side almost and they did not play this way the past few weeks

    ReplyReply
  27. avatar

    Jacques(Bunny)

    March 6, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Reply to JT @ 9:46 am: Ja bad mistake from Blues to try and run from their

    ReplyReply
  28. avatar

    JT

    March 6, 2010 at 9:56 am

    @Brand – I have that book you were talking about on my ipod as an audio-book – Thanks for the tip!

    ReplyReply
  29. avatar

    Boertjie

    March 6, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Reply to onerb @ 9:47 am:

    I’ve had problems with RW site
    for several days now.
    Let’s hope it will blow over.

    ReplyReply
  30. avatar

    JT

    March 6, 2010 at 9:58 am

    Another try by the Saders!! All power, pace and precision! :applause:

    ReplyReply
  31. avatar

    JT

    March 6, 2010 at 9:58 am

    Reply to Boertjie @ 9:57 am:

    since I wrote that comment it has been working fine – go figure! :cuckoo: :mrgreen:

    ReplyReply
  32. avatar

    JT

    March 6, 2010 at 10:01 am

    Reply to Boertjie @ 9:57 am:

    since I wrote that comment it has been working fine – go figure! :cuckoo: :mrgreen:

    but now it is crashing again :bangheadt:

    ReplyReply
  33. avatar

    JT

    March 6, 2010 at 10:07 am

    consolation try for the Blues!

    ReplyReply
  34. avatar

    Boertjie

    March 6, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Crusaders coming to the party.
    Don’t worry – on 20 March
    the Lions will sink them.

    ReplyReply
  35. avatar

    Jacques(Bunny)

    March 6, 2010 at 10:16 am

    No bonus point :whistling:

    ReplyReply
  36. avatar

    Jacques(Bunny)

    March 6, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Blues should have get one

    ReplyReply
  37. avatar

    Deon

    March 6, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Reply to Jacques(Bunny) @ 10:16 am:

    Yip like the Stormers it will bite them in the end

    ReplyReply
  38. avatar

    Jacques(Bunny)

    March 6, 2010 at 10:22 am

    Reply to Deon @ 10:16 am:

    ReplyReply
  39. avatar

    The Brand

    March 6, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Reply to JT @ 9:56 am:

    Whaoo – Audio-book

    Great stuff – it is truely an amazing book.

    He he he – it does “pisses” me off somewhat when I find a book that effectively says what I have been trying to say for many many years :respek: :bowdown: :applause:

    :applause: to you for taking this step to change your life and that of those around you – yes this book has THAT potential !!! :wave:

    ReplyReply
  40. avatar

    JT

    March 6, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Reply to The Brand @ 11:37 am:

    ja ok, relax – jy maak my nervous :mrgreen:

    ReplyReply
  41. avatar

    The Brand

    March 6, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Reply to JT @ 11:39 am:

    he he he

    ReplyReply

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