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Blues vs Crusaders Super rugby preview

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Saturday’s first match in the 2011 Super Rugby season is between the only two teams in New Zealand that have won a Super rugby tournament and one of those is considered as Super rugby royalty.


Blues vs Crusaders


Will this be the year for the Blues? Aucklanders have been asking this question for years now. With the talent they have they should be finishing higher than they have been.


The promise of playing in world cup – possibly a final in their home stadium could give the Blues that final extra bit of motivation and drive them home. A good Super rugby tournament could win some players All Black selections if they are on the edge.


Last year they finished mid-table in seventh place while their opposition for this weekend the Crusaders finished in fourth place.


Man in the middle – Ali Williams. This weekend’s match will be especially interesting for Williams as he has played for both sides. In 2008 he played for Robbie Deans’ Crusaders after he left the Blues due to a personality clash with the then-coach David Nucifora.


The Blues team is a familiar one compared to last year which translates to more experience and players like Isaia Toeava will be playing in his 50th Blues Super rugby game.


The Crusaders team also has an air of familiarity to it but at the back is new recruit Israel Dagg who could really shine with a better performing pack than the Highlanders were offering him.


While the Blues have All Blacks in their team the Crusaders are almost overflowing with past, current of future All Blacks not to mention Dan Carter who says he is itching to get started after the break.


Home advantage for the Blues is helpful for the Aucklanders as they win 72.6 per cent of their home matches while the Crusaders win 54.5 per cent of their away matches in New Zealand.


In the last five clashes the Crusaders have won four of them and the last three have all gone their way.  


The historical stats for this clash are tight. On average when these two teams meet they both score 24 points. Overall the Blues have played the Crusaders 17 times and won 8 with the Crusaders winning 9 times. It is perhaps surprising that as the stats are so close there have been no draws between the teams.


The Bookies have predicted a close match and given the Blues a one point start – Free £ 20 bet for all new customers. We think the Crusaders will win this one. Crusaders to win by 7.


Blues overall record against Crusaders
Played 17 ,Wins 8, Losses 9 , Draws 0


Last five results.
Sat, 06 Mar 2010 Blues v Crusaders 20-33 Christchurch
Sat, 16 May 2009 Blues v Crusaders 13-15 Auckland
Fri, 25 Apr 2008 Blues v Crusaders 22-26 Christchurch
Fri, 02 Feb 2007 Blues v Crusaders 34-25 Auckland
Sat, 04 Mar 2006 Blues v Crusaders 10-39 Christchurch


Match No 3: Blues vs Crusaders
Date :Saturday 19 February
Venue : Auckland
Kick Off local: 19:35
Kick Off GMT:6:35
Referee: Chris Pollock
Assistant Ref 1:Jonathon White
Assistant Ref 2:Vinny Munro
TMO : Ben Skeen


Teams


Blues: 1. Tony Woodcock ,2. Keven Mealamu (C) ,3. John Afoa ,4. Anthony Boric ,5. Ali Williams ,6. .Jerome Kaino ,7. Daniel Braid ,8. .Chris Lowrey ,9. .Alby Mathewson ,10. Stephen Brett ,11. Rene Ranger ,12. Benson Stanley ,13.Jared Payne ,14. Joe Rokocoko ,15. Isaia Toeava


16. Tom McCartney/Ash Dixon ,17. Charlie Faumuina 18.Filo Paulo 19. Luke Braid ,20.Toby Morland ,21 .Lachie Munro ,22.Sherwin Stowers


Crusaders: Israel Dagg, Sean Maitland, Robbie Fruean, Adam Whitelock, Tu Umaga-Marshall, Daniel Carter, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read (captain), Matt Todd, George Whitelock, Sam Whitelock, Brad Thorn, Owen Franks, Corey Flynn, Wyatt Crockett.


Reserves: Francis Smith, Ben Franks, Chris Jack, Jonathan Poff, Willi Heinz, Matt Berquist, Tom Marshall/Tyler Bleyendaal.

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