Vodacom Super Rugby:Crusaders 10, Chiefs 18

February 21, 2014
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Finally the time has come for us punters to be treated to a full weekend of top notch rugby as Round 2 kicks off on Friday. In all honesty these seven matches can barely be more closely matched, which will make for serious prediction headaches.

This is quite the humdinger to preview for the first full weekend of Super Rugby and my mind is changing as much as the weather in England. On the one hand we know that the Crusaders are notorious slow starters, building a head of steam as their domination grows, yet history will show that they’ve only lost one opening game as hosts, a decade ago when the Waratahs pummelled them.

Statistics aside, they’re the better team on paper and convinced with good wins in the warm-up against the Highlanders and Hurricanes. Must be said that I don’t believe either of their opponents will feature much this year, so the value of those games will surely be put to the test now that the pressure is on.

There’s no telling what the absence of Dan Carter and Kieran Read will have on the match, but their replacements aren’t in the same league as their direct opponents.  Richie McCaw will lead the team and a lot is expected of young Johnny McNicholl whose impressive pre-season try tally got him the nod ahead of Zac Guildford who’ll be playing water boy. Through in a handful of debutants in key positions and again my calculating brain does a backflip.

From the Chiefs’ point of view things couldn’t be better, bar of course a couple of niggles that will prevent them from fielding a full strength side. Hard-working Sam Cane will sorely be missed, as will their play-maker at the back, Gareth Anscombe. It is yet to be seen what influence the experienced Mils Muliaina will have now that he’s back from Japan and they could have a card up their sleeves through acquiring the services of Robbie Fruean, who’ll know a thing or two about the Canterbury camp.

I suppose this is just about as close to the All Blacks playing the All Blacks as you’ll get and you can expect nothing less than a fierce battle up front combined with some scintillating running and polished skills.

The time has come to make my bed and sleep in it, however difficult that may be. I’ll put my foot in it and back the Chiefs for this one. I just think that they faced tougher opposition coming into this match and having been shown up by the Reds, they clearly made an effort to get back on track for a resounding victory over the Blues.

TEAMS

Crusaders: Israel Dagg, Johnny McNicholl, Rey Lee-Lo, Ryan Crotty, Nafi Tuitavake, Tyler Bleyendaal, Andy Ellis, Luke Whitelock, Richie McCaw (captain), George Whitelock, Dominic Bird, Sam Whitelock, Owen Franks, Corey Flynn, Tim Perry. Reserves: Rob Thompson, Tom Taylor, Willi Heinz, Luke Romano, Nepo Laulala, Wyatt Crockett, Ben Funnell.

Chiefs: Mils Muliaina, Tim Nanai-Williams, Robbie Fruean, Charlie Ngatai, Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Aaron Cruden, Augustine Pulu, Kane Thompson, Tevita Koloamatangi, Liam Messam, Brodie Retallick, Michael Fitzgerald, Ben Tameifuna, Rhys Marshall, Jamie Mackintosh. Reserves: Nathan Harris, Pauliasi Manu, Ben Afeaki, Matt Symons/Liam Squire, Nick Crosswell, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Andrew Horrell/Anton Lienert-Brown, James Lowe.

by Jackie Smit

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20 Comments

  1. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    February 21st, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Here we go…nothing better to start the weekend with the Chiefs vs Crusaders on a Friday morning :wave:

  2. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    February 21st, 2014 at 8:39 am

    Saders stretching the Chiefs in the first few minutes but defence of Chiefs looks good

  3. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    February 21st, 2014 at 8:44 am

    Saders keep the pressure on the Chiefs in their 22m

  4. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    February 21st, 2014 at 8:48 am

    Chiefs in first with Fruean scoring in the corner

  5. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    February 21st, 2014 at 8:50 am

    Score Chiefs 5, Crusaders 0 with 12 min Gone Fruean the try scorer.

  6. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    February 21st, 2014 at 8:52 am

    This is all against the run of play as the Crusaders put the pressure on

  7. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    February 21st, 2014 at 9:21 am

    Score still Chiefs 5, Crusader 0 after 38 min with a yellow card for the Crusaders

  8. avatar Methos The French Stormer says:
    February 21st, 2014 at 9:23 am

    8-0 chiefs almost end of first half

  9. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    February 21st, 2014 at 9:23 am

    Penalty kick for Chiefs as the stretch their lead to 8-0 and that is half time

  10. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    February 21st, 2014 at 9:27 am

    And Chiefs get a yellow Ben Tameifuna send of for 10 min and that is now half time Chiefs 8 Crusaders 0

  11. avatar Aldo says:
    February 21st, 2014 at 9:35 am

    They can just end the game now, have the chiefs for a 5 point win on superbru.

  12. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    February 21st, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Biggest problem for Crusaders is that they do not get enough players behind to attack with, Chiefs defence is killing them at this stage

  13. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    February 21st, 2014 at 9:36 am

    @Aldo: Crusaders play for 80 min, will never count them out.

  14. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    February 21st, 2014 at 9:42 am

    Crusaders start with a bang just to lose the ball again to the Chiefs to run the full length of the field and score in the corner, but Cruden lose the ball going over the line

  15. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    February 21st, 2014 at 9:47 am

    Another yellow card for Crusaders for professional foul and Cruden kick the penalty to extend their lead to 11-0

  16. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    February 21st, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Crusaders bounce back with a try by Sam Whitelock from the lineout as the Chiefs messed up big time and let him through to run 22 meters to score.

    Score: Chiefs 11 Crusaders 8

  17. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    February 21st, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Sorry Chiefs 11 Crusaders 7, still stuck with Varsity Cup :)

  18. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    February 21st, 2014 at 10:27 am

    Crusaders gets penalty kick and get closer to Chiefs
    Score: Chiefs 11 Crusaders 10

  19. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    February 21st, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Intercept try for Chiefs by James Lowe as Crusaders makes all the paly and pressure

  20. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    February 21st, 2014 at 10:30 am

    That’s the final score as Chiefs shows their ability to win the close once again.

    Final score Chiefs 18, Crusaders 10, no bonus points for either team.

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