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Crusaders v Blues Super Rugby Rd.2 Preview

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The first match of round 2 in Super Rugby is in Christchurch where the Crusaders host the Blues looking for their first win of the season.

The Crusaders were beaten 21-27 last week at home in Christchurch while the Blues pulled off a surprise victory over last year’s champions the Highlanders in Auckland.

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder has made one change to the side that lost to the Chiefs by bringing in Pete Samu on the replacements bench for Reed Prinsep, who is recovering from a head knock in the Chiefs match.

Blackadder has chosen to retain the starting line up that lost last week.

Blues coach Tana Umaga on the other hand has made six changes as he says he is not yet settled on his best starting XV. Captain Jerome Kaino comes into the team to make his debut for 2016

There are two changes in the forwards with captain Jerome Kaino returning from suspension and Quentin MacDonald switching with James Parsons at hooker.

Billy Guyton and Matt McGahan join forces in a new inside back combination with Rene Ranger earning a start, swapping with Male Sa’u.

Former Melbourne Storm player Matt Duffie makes his debut at fullback with coaches not taking any risks with a niggling injury for Lolagi Visinia.

It also marks the 50th Blues cap for loose forward Steven Luatua, who impressed in the victory over the Highlanders.

The Crusaders have played the Blues 27 times in Super Rugby and they have won 16 matches and lost 11. That gives them a record of winning 59% of their matches against the Blues.

At home the Crusaders have played the Blues 13 times (once in Timaru) and they have won 10 matches and lost three matches. This gives them a record of winning 77% of their home matches against the Blues.

The average score when the Crusaders play the Blues at home is Crusaders 30 Blues 20. The Crusaders have won their last eight home Super Rugby matches against the Blues.

The Crusaders are renowned for being slow starters so we had a quick look at the stats and they have won 63% of their matches in the second round at home and 56% of their Rd.2 matches at any venue since 1996.

The Blues looked a different side last week but this week will be the real test to see if they have changed as they will be playing away from home. The Blues have lost 22 out of their last 23 matches away from home.

The Bookies have given the Blues a 5 point start for this Match – with an offer of a FREE $150 BET. The Blues have a terrible record away from home so we are going with the home team. Crusaders should win by three. 

This Match will be shown on TV in NZ, Aus, SA and in the UK on Sky Sports 2.

Average score: Crusaders 25 Blues 22

Last five results
06 Jun 2015 Crusaders v Blues 34-11 Auckland
25 Apr 2015 Crusaders v Blues 29-15 Christchurch
05 Jul 2014 Crusaders v Blues 21-13 Christchurch
28 Feb 2014 Crusaders v Blues 24-35 Auckland
18 May 2013 Crusaders v Blues 23-3 Christchurch

Crusaders overall record against the Blues
Played 27 , Wins 16 , Losses 11, Draws 0

Match No.10: Crusaders v Blues
Date : Friday 4 March 2016
Venue : AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Kick Off local: 19:35 local
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant Ref 1:Chris Pollock
Assistant Ref 2:Brendon Pickerill
TMO : Ben Skeen

Teams

Crusaders

1. Joe Moody,2. Codie Taylor,3. Owen Franks ,4. Scott Barrett,5. Samuel Whitelock (C),6. Jordan Taufua,7. Tim Boys,8. Kieran Read,9. Andy Ellis,10. Richie Mo’unga,11. Nemani Nadolo,12. Kieron Fonotia, 13. Sean Wainui,14. Jone Macilai,15. David Havili

Replacements : Ben Funnell, Wyatt Crockett, Mike Alaalatoa, Jimmy Tupou, Pete Samu, Leon Fukofuka, Ben Volavola, Johnny McNicholl

Blues

Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Quentin MacDonald, Sione Mafileo, Patrick Tuipulotu, Josh Bekhuis, Jerome Kaino (C), Blake Gibson, Steven Luatua; Billy Guyton, Matt McGahan, Tevita Li, George Moala, Rene Ranger, Melani Nanai, Matt Duffie.

Replacements: James Parsons, Sam Prattley, Charlie Faumuina, Akira Ioane, Kara Pryor, Bryn Hall, Ihaia West, Male Sa’u.

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