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Blues v Crusaders Super Rugby Preview

Andy Ellis in action for the Crusaders the last time they met the Blues

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Article Published: Thursday 27 February 2014|

The Blues and Crusaders have not played each other since May last year and that match ended in a 23-3 victory for the Crusaders in Christchurch.

That match was an away match for the Blues and this week the match will be played in Auckland and will be the Blues first match at home this year.

This should be a good match as both teams will be coming off a loss having lost their opening matches and both will be desperate for their first win and to make up for last week.

Overall the Blues have played the Crusaders 23 times since 1996 and they have won 10 times and lost 13 times. There have been no draws between the teams.

Those 10 victories over the Crusaders give them a record of winning 44% of their matches against the men from Christchurch. It also means they have lost 56% of their matches.

The average score when the Blues play the Crusaders across all venues is Blues 22 Crusaders 25.

This weekend as mentioned earlier the match will be played in Auckland which is home for the Blues. The Blues have had home advantage over the Crusaders 12 times.

Ten of those twelve matches were played at Eden Park. In 1997 the Blues played the Crusaders in Pukekohe and in 2003 they played in Albany. The Blues won both of those matches.

From the ten Blues matches played in Auckland the Blues have won five and lost five times which is a 50/50 record. The average score in Auckland when the Blues play the Crusaders is Blues 21 Crusaders 21.

In terms of selections Blues coach John Kirwan has taken something of a gamble for this match as he has named promising young NPC first five-eighths Simon Hickey in the starting line up ahead of Chris Noakes and Benji Marshall.

While Hickey impressed many in the NPC the step up to Super Rugby is one that countless players have failed to achieve with success. Making your Super Rugby debut is one thing but doing it against the Crusaders is an even tougher task.

Benji Marshall has been named on the replacements bench and could come on if Kirwan's experiment goes wrong but remember that Marshall's playing position is still not completely settled. There is also the possibility that Piri Weepu could provide cover at 10.

Kirwan has also named Keven Mealamu on the replacements bench as well as All Black prop Tony Woodcock.

The Crusaders have also made some surprise selections although not as big of a gamble. All Black fullback Israel Dagg has been dropped down to the bench and Colin Slade comes in at fullback.

The Crusaders will be led by returning IRB player of the year Kieran Read while Richie McCaw and George Whitelock are the starting openside and blindside flankers, and Matt Todd will again provide support from the bench.

In all the Crusaders have made four changes to the team that lost to the Chiefs.

While the Crusaders were on the losing side last week but in fairness things would have been very different had they gotten a couple of their seven missed kicks at goal. The game would have changed and the result could have been very different.

Due to last week's loss we expect the Crusaders to a very hungry side this week. Even though the Blues lost last week as well they don't have a good record against the Crusaders at home and they are still experimenting with players.

The Bookies have given the Blues a 6 point start for this Match - with an offer of a FREE $150 BET. The Crusaders should sneak this one by four.

This Match will be shown on TV in NZ, Aus, SA and in the UK on Sky Sports HD.

Average score: Blues 22 Crusaders 25

Last five results
17 May 2013 Blues v Crusaders 3-23 Christchurch
01 Mar 2013 Blues v Crusaders 34-15 Auckland
19 May 2012 Blues v Crusaders 12-59 Christchurch
24 Feb 2012 Blues v Crusaders 18-19 Auckland
11 Jun 2011 Blues v Crusaders 16-23 Timaru

Blues overall record against the Crusaders
Played 23 , Wins 10 , Losses 13, Draws 0

Match No10: Blues v Crusaders
Date Friday 28 February
Venue : Eden Park
Kick Off local: 19:35
Kick Off GMT: 06:35
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 1:Garratt Williamson
Assistant Ref 2:Shane McDermott
TMO:Ben Skeen



15. Charles Piutau,14. Frank Halai,13. George Moala,12. Jackson Willison,11. Tevita Li,10. Simon Hickey,9. Piri Weepu,8. Peter Saili,7. Luke Braid / Brendon O'Connor,6. Steven Luatua,5. Tom Donnelly,4. Patrick Tuipulotu,3. Charlie Faumuina,2. James Parsons,1. Sam Prattley

Replacements :16. Keven Mealamu,17. Tony Woodcock,18. Angus Ta'avao,19. Liaki Moli,20. Brendon O'Connor / Jordan Manihera,21. Bryn Hall,22. Benji Marshall,23. Pita Ahki


1 Tim Perry ,2 Corey Flynn ,3 Owen Franks,4 Samuel Whitelock,5 Dominic Bird ,6 George Whitelock,7 Richie McCaw,8 Kieran Read (c) ,9 Andy Ellis,10 Tom Taylor , 11 Nafi Tuitavake , 12 Ryan Crotty (vc) , 13 Reynold Lee-Lo , 14 Rob Thompson , 15 Colin Slade

Replacements : 16 Ben Funnell , 17 Wyatt Crockett ,18 Nepo Laulala ,19 Luke Romano , 20 Matt Todd , 21 Willi Heinz ,22 Adam Whitelock , 23 Israel Dagg

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