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Crusaders v Rebels Rd.16 Super Rugby Preview

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The first match on Saturday in Super Rugby Round 16 is in Christchurch where the Crusaders host the Melbourne Rebels.

In 2015 this match was played in the opening round and the Rebels shocked the Crusaders by beating them 10-20 in Christchurch.

Both teams will go into the match coming off a loss and both will be hurting for different reasons.

The Crusaders lost to the Chiefs in Fiji last week and as a result they also lost their placing at the top of the Super Rugby standings. Next week they finish the regular season at home with a match against the Hurricanes so winning this week is crucial.

The Rebels suffered their biggest loss of the season as the Stormers cruised to their biggest ever victory in Super Rugby. The Rebels are already out of contention for the play offs but how they finish the season will contribute to how the final placings will look.

The Crusaders and the Rebels have played each other just four times since the Melbourne side joined Super Rugby in 2011 and both teams have won two matches each. The teams have met twice in Christchurch and they have won one match each.

The average score when the teams play in Christchurch is : Crusaders 20 Rebels 23.

For this match the Crusaders have rested regular captain Kieran Read and Sam Whitelock has taken over the captaincy for this week. Coach Todd Blackadder has made four changes to the starting team that fell to the Chiefs in Fiji last week.

In the forwards, Alex Hodgman moves into the number 1 jersey, while Wyatt Crockett takes a spot on the bench. Jimmy Tupou will start at number 8 this week, with Kieran Read sitting this match out.

Luke Romano will provide lock cover for Whitelock and Scott Barrett, while Pete Samu joins the bench as loose forward support. In the backs, Ryan Crotty returns to the team at centre, and Johnny McNicholl will take the right wing.

Kieron Fonotia will prepare to make an impact off the bench this week and Mitchell Hunt will join the reserves for the second week in a row, giving him the opportunity to earn his first Crusaders cap if he makes the field.

The Rebels have made seven changes to the starting line up that lost to the Stormers. Regular captain Nic Stirzaker, Laurie Weeks, Adam Thomson and Mike Harris returning from injury while Sam Jeffries, Culum Retallick and Tuipulotu have been promoted into the starting line up.

Retallick will make his run-on debut for the Rebels, Weeks returns to the starting line up for the first time after a hamstring injury sidelined the prop since Round 9 and Jeffries makes his third career Super Rugby start.

After starting the last two games at Tighthead, Toby Smith returns to Loosehead Prop while Colby Fainga’a moves to flanker alongside Jordy Reid as Thomson starts at No.8.

Stirzaker and Harris, both unavailable for the Stormers game with ankle injuries, return to scrumhalf and fullback, respectively, with Reece Hodge shifted to Inside Centre and Sefa Naivalu to the right wing.

Sean McMahon will miss his first Rebels game since Round 13 2015 while locks Luke Jones and Lopeti Timani have failed to overcome first-half concussions sustained last weekend.

The Bookies have given the Rebels a 17 point start for this Match – with an offer of up to $200 in Bonus bets. The Crusaders will have been given an injection of urgency after last week and they have to win well this week as next week they are up against the 2015 finalists. The Crusaders should win by 15 – with a bonus point.

This Match will be shown on TV in NZ (Sky), Aus (Fox Sports), SA (SuperSport) and in the UK on Sky Sports 1.

Average score: Crusaders 21 Rebels 23

Last four results
13 Feb 2015 Crusaders v Rebels 10-20 Christchurch
14 Mar 2014 Crusaders v Rebels 25-19 Melbourne
28 Apr 2013 Crusaders v Rebels 30-26 Christchurch
12 May 2012 Crusaders v Rebels 19-28 Melbourne

Crusaders overall record against the Rebels
Played 4 , Wins 2 , Losses 2 , Draws 0

Match No121. Crusaders v Rebels
Date : Saturday 9 July 2016
Venue : AMI Stadium, Crusaders
Kick Off local: 19:35 local
Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant Ref 1:Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 2:Angus Mabey
TMO : Aaron Paterson

Teams

Crusaders

1. Alex Hodgman,2. Codie Taylor, 3. Owen Franks 4. Scott Barrett 5. Sam Whitelock (C) 6. Jordan Taufua 7. Matt Todd 8. Jimmy Tupou 9. Andy Ellis 10. Richie Mo’unga 11. Nemani Nadolo 12. David Havili 13. Ryan Crotty 14. Johnny McNicholl 15. Israel Dagg

Replacements :16. Ben Funnell ,17. Wyatt Crockett,18. Mike Alaalatoa,19. Luke Romano,20. Pete Samu,21. Mitchell Drummond, 22. Mitch Hunt,23. Kieron Fonotia

Melbourne Rebels

1. Toby Smith , 2. James Hanson , 3. Laurie Weeks , 4. Sam Jeffries , 5. Culum Retallick , 6. Jordy Reid , 7. Colby Fainga’a , 8. Adam Thomson , 9. Nic Stirzaker (captain) , 10. Jack Debreczeni , 11. Tom English , 12. Reece Hodge , 13. Sione Tuipulotu , 14. Sefa Naivalu , 15. Mike Harris

Replacements : 16. Pat Leafa , 17. Cruze Ah Nau , 18. Jamie Hagan , 19. Steve Cummins , 20. Rob Leota* , 21. Ben Meehan , 22. Paul Asquith , 23. Jonah Placid

*Uncapped

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