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Crusaders v Sharks Semi-Final Preview

Colin Slade attempts to break through a double tackle from the Sharks

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Article Published: Thursday 24 July 2014|

Out of the last five Super Rugby matches between the Crusaders and the Sharks the Christchurch side have won three and the Sharks two.

Crucially the Sharks have won the last two matches including the match on the 17th of May this year when the Sharks finished the match with 14 players.

Overall the Crusaders have played the Sharks 18 times since 1998 in Super Rugby and the Crusaders have won 14 of the matches.

That gives the Crusaders a record of winning 78% of their matches across all venues against the Sharks.

The average score when the Crusaders play the Sharks across all venues is Crusaders 31 Sharks 22.

This weekend the Crusaders will have home advantage as the match will be played in Christchurch at the AMI Stadium in Addington.

The teams have played each other 11 times in Super Rugby and the Crusaders have won 10 matches and lost one. The only time the Sharks have ever won in Christchurch was earlier this year in the 14th round.

This record of 10 wins from 11 home matches gives the Crusaders a record of winning 91% of their home matches against the Sharks.

The Crusaders have actually only played the Sharks 8 times in Christchurch but they have won 7 of those or 88% of their matches in the city. Other Crusaders home matches were played in Nelson. Twickenham and Timaru.

The average score when the Crusaders play the Sharks in Christchurch is Crusaders 35 Sharks 23.

The Crusaders had a bye last week so they can be expected to start a little slowly. They have won their last two matches and 8 out of their last ten matches.

The Crusaders have played 8 matches at home in 2014 and they have won 6 or 75%. Their last loss at home was to the Sharks.

The Sharks on the other hand have also won their last two matches but they have played 17 matches this season compared to the Crusaders 16. The Sharks have won 71% of their matches overall compared to the Crusaders who have won 69%.

The Sharks have played 8 matches at home and they have won 5 and lost three or won 63% of their away matches. In 2014 the Sharks only played two matches in New Zealand but won both so they have yet to taste defeat in New Zealand this year.

In terms of selection the Crusaders have made two changes to the side that beat the Highlanders with Richie McCaw returning to the starting team while Jordan Taufua moves to the bench.

Corey Flynn will take the starting hooker spot for his 150th Crusaders game, with Ben Funnell providing back-up from the bench.

The Sharks have made a number changes to their team and the highest profile change is that of Pat Lambie making his first start since March.

Willem Alberts shifts from flank to the second row, with his place on the side of the scrum taken by Jean Deysel.

Deysel's move into the starting line up opens a space for Tera Mtembu on the replacements bench.

In the backline Patrick Lambie starts at flyhalf so Frans Steyn moves from from 10 to 12 while Paul Jordaan wears the number 13 jersey which was worn by JP Pietersen last week.

Pietersen moves to the wing with S'bura Sithole moving to the replacements bench.

Interestingly as the Crusaders had a bye last week both team's last outing was a home match against the Highlanders. The Crusaders beat the Highlanders by 26 points while the Sharks beat the Highlanders by four points.

The Sharks rely heavily on the referee awarding them penalties from which they either set up a line out and then the maul or they kick for posts. Statistically the Crusaders concede fewer penalties any other team in the tournament at an average of 10 per match.

The Bookies have given the Sharks an 8 point start for this Match - with an offer of a FREE $250.00 Bet. While the Sharks won in Christchurch earlier this year, home advantage can't be ignored. Last week in the qualifiers both home teams won and have progressed. Playing at home the Crusaders should win by 9.

This Match will be shown on TV in NZ, Aus, SA and in the UK on Sky Sports 1/HD

Average score: Crusaders 31 Sharks 22

Last five results
17 May 2014 Crusaders v Sharks 25-30 Christchurch 19:35
05 Apr 2013 Crusaders v Sharks 17-21 Durban
25 Jun 2011 Elimination play off Crusaders v Sharks 36-8 Nelson
27 Mar 2011 Crusaders v Sharks 44-28 Twickenham
26 Feb 2010 Crusaders v Sharks 35-6 Christchurch

Crusaders overall record against the Sharks
Played 18,Wins 14 ,Losses 4,Draws 0

Super Rugby Semi-Final
Date :
Saturday 26 July 2014
Match : Crusaders v Sharks
Venue :AMI Stadium, Christchurch, New Zealand
Kick-off (19:35 local, 17:35 AEST, 09:35 SAST, 07:35 GMT)
Referee: Glen Jackson
AR1: Rohan Hoffmann
AR2: Mike Fraser
TMO: Ben Skeen



1. Wyatt Crockett ,2. Corey Flynn,3. Owen Franks,4. Dominic Bird ,5. Samuel Whitelock ,6. Richie McCaw, 7. Matt Todd ,8. Kieran Read (C),9. Andy Ellis ,10. Colin Slade , 11. Nemani Nadolo , 12. Dan Carter , 13. Ryan Crotty (VC) , 14. Kieron Fonotia , 15. Israel Dagg ,

Replacements : 16. Ben Funnell , 17. Joe Moody ,18. Nepo Laulala ,19. Jimmy Tupou ,20. Jordan Taufua ,21. Willi Heinz , 22. Tom Taylor ,23. Johnny McNicholl


15. SP Marais , 14. JP Pietersen , 13. Paul Jordaan , 12. Frans Steyn , 11. Lwazi Mvovo , 10. Pat Lambie , 9. Cobus Reinach , 8. Ryan Kankowski , 7. Jean Deysel , 6. Marcell Coetzee , 5. Stephan Lewies , 4. Willem Alberts , 3. Jannie du Plessis , 2. Bismarck du Plessis (c) , 1. Thomas du Toit

Replacements, 16. Kyle Cooper , 17. Dale Chadwick , 18. Lourens Adriaanse , 19. Etienne Oosthuizen , 20. Tera Mtembu , 21. Charl McLeod , 22. S'bura Sithole , 23. Tonderai Chavhanga

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