Crusaders vs Highlanders Live : The Crusaders’ Super Rugby match against the Highlanders in Dunedin on Saturday has been cancelled in light of the tragic shootings in Christchurch. The Crusaders vs Highlanders have each scored seven tries within the opening quarter of games in Super Rugby 2019, the joint-most of any teams in the competition. The Highlanders have conceded five tries after defending for seven or more phases this Super Rugby campaign.
We are more than half way through the tournament with only 7 rounds left to go until the qualifiers. We can look forward to some mouthwatering match-ups in round 9. The Highlanders travel to Christchurch to try and tame the prolific Crusaders. This New Zealand derby is traditionally very physical and skillful because of the fact that players are trying to stake their claim on an All Black jersey for the Rugby Championship and the Rugby World Cup at the end of 2019.
The Crusaders came out on top at home in July 2018, however the Highlanders got the victory earlier in this year in Otago. The Crusaders have been in exceptional form this year especially out wide. Sevu Reece has been a scoring machine the last couple of rounds. The return of the All Black midfielder, Jack Goodhue, will definitely boost the attacking ability of the Crusaders’ backline.
On the Highlanders side, they have opted for experience especially in the back field with Ben Smith starting alongside Matt Faddes and Tevita Li. Smith has the vision of a hawk from the full back position and makes the majority of the attacking en defensive decisions in the Highlanders backline. We often refer to the cliché that the side that gets the upper hand upfront will be victorious at the end of the game and this clash will be no different.
The Crusaders have a lot of experience upfront with their captain, Sam Whitelock, starting in the second row alongside, Scott Barrett. The recent return of Kieran Read will also boost the side upfront and he might bring a calming factor to the young players when things get tough over the weekend.If one scenario should be binned when predicting the outcome of Friday night’s South Island derby, it’s the prospect of the Crusaders being ambushed by a desperate pack of Highlanders.
Forget it. The competition leading red and blacks are on high alert ahead of the 36th match between the teams, and not just because their 12th-placed neighbours can’t afford for their winless streak to close in on two months.
The southerners are also set to mark fullback Ben Smith’s 150th Super Rugby match in the fixture at Christchurch Stadium, a venue no visiting side has tasted success at in almost three years.
“They will be desperate. We need to be desperate. If anything, we need to be more desperate than them,” Crusaders halfback Bryn Hall said. more desperate than them,” Crusaders halfback Bryn Hall said.The Crusaders won’t have George Bridge (knee) available for Friday night’s clash with the Highlanders in Christchurch.
All Crusaders players and coaches interviewed this week agreed on one thing: the Highlanders are better than their 2-1-4 record indicates.
For one, Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has seen enough to know his team has a scrap on their hands, even though the Highlanders will be without the injured Aaron Smith, Waisake Naholo and Luke Whitelock.
“They’ve had a lot of close losses. A bounce of the ball away. As a coach, you’re sitting up there hoping you get a couple of decisions, or someone makes a great decision for you on the field, to get that result.The Crusaders will be without prop Owen Franks for their southern derby blockbuster against the Highlanders on Friday.
The All Blacks veteran has been sidelined with a shoulder issue. He’ll undergo further scans this week to determine the severity of the injury.
Wing George Bridge is another who’s been added to the casualty list, out with an undisclosed injury. He’ll be replaced by Sevu Reece.Coach Scott Robertson said they’d be in rush to bring Franks back into the fold, particularly with their bye week on the horizon.
“We’ve realised that we can take the time with our players,” said Robertson. “Because we have the depth in the squad, and that’s something we’re really fortunate to have.
“It’s really important that we have as many bodies available by the end of the competition by trusting those players now.”
Meanwhile, hooker Codie Taylor will spend another week recovering from the calf strain that saw him miss last week’s win over the Brumbies.
Andrew Makalio will start at in Taylor’s number two jersey, and Ben Funnell has been named on the bench.
In other forward pack changes, Sam Whitelock and Whetukamokamo Douglas return to the starting side. Whitelock will resume the captaincy.
Halfbacks Bryn Hall and Mitchell Drummond will swap roles yet again, Hall claiming the starting spot this week.
Jack Goodhue and Braydon Ennor both return to the starting side at centre and on the right wing respectivelyHighlanders coach Aaron Mauger has declared Josh Ioane “ready to go” after handing him the Highlanders’ No 10 jersey for the trip Christchurch to face the Crusaders on Friday.
The first-five hasn’t started a match since the round four loss to the Hurricanes a month ago, but Marty Banks’ injury has opened the door for him to run the attack in Ben Smith’s 150th match for the Highlanders.