RECAP: Crusaders v Hurricanes
READERS’ FORUM: Welcome to our coverage of the Super Rugby semi-final between the between the Crusaders and the Hurricanes at Christchurch Stadium.
The Hurricanes are considered rank outsiders in Christchurch against the Crusaders, who boast a squad bristling with All Blacks as they chase a third straight title and 10th overall. t’s a frustrating situation for the Hurricanes – a side that won more matches than any other this season and features a two-time world player of the year in Barrett.
Yet such has been the South Islanders’ dominance over the Hurricanes in recent years that the men from New Zealand’s capital find themselves practically written off by bookies and pundits before a ball has been kicked in anger.
The teams have met five times previously in finals matches and the Crusaders have won all of them, including a semifinal last year and the title decider in 2006
2019: Crusaders won 32-8, Wellington
2019: Crusaders won 38-22, Christchurch
2018: Crusaders won 30-12, Christchurch (semifinal)
2018: Crusaders won 24-13, Christchurch
2018: Hurricanes won 29-19, Wellington
2017: Hurricanes won 31-22, Wellington
2017: Crusaders won 20-12, Christchurch
2016: Hurricanes won 35-10, Christchurch
2015: Crusaders won 35-18, Nelson
2015: Hurricanes won 29-23, Wellington
Prediction, teams and match details
Prediction: The Crusaders have won their last four Super Rugby games on the bounce against the Hurricanes; the only previous time either team managed to win more games in succession in this fixture was a seven-game stretch for the Crusaders from 2005 to 2008. This will be the sixth finals meeting between the Crusaders and Hurricanes in Super Rugby, the Crusaders have won each of the previous five by an average margin of 20 points per game. The Crusaders have won their last seven post-season games in succession in Super Rugby; only once in the competition’s history has any team won more (nine – Crusaders from 1998 to 2003). The Crusaders are undefeated in their last 29 Super Rugby games on home turf (28 wins and one draw); their last defeat in such a fixture came in Round 17, 2016 against the Hurricanes. The Hurricanes have won only one of their nine previous play-off games away from home in Super Rugby, with five of their eight defeats in that span coming at the hands of the Crusaders. The Hurricanes have won their last four New Zealand derbies in Super Rugby despite leading at half-time only twice in that time. The Crusaders have scored more points (33), made more carries (126), gained more metres (506), and made more clean breaks (15) per game than any other team in Super Rugby 2019. The Hurricanes have conceded just five tries within the final quarter of games this Super Rugby season, fewer than any other team in the competition. Sevu Reece (Crusaders) has made 36 clean breaks in Super Rugby 2019, eight more than any other player in the competition and 14 more than Hurricanes’ best Jordie Barrett (22). The Hurricanes’ Ardie Savea has won 28 turnovers this Super Rugby campaign, five more than any other player in the competition and 11 more than Crusaders’ best Matt Todd (17).
Margin: 13 points
Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 5 Samuel Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 George Bower, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Jordan Taufua*, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Braydon Ennor.
Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Salesi Rayasi, 13 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Thomas Perenara, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (captain), 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Xavier Numia, 18 Ben May, 19 Kane Le’aupepe, 20 Vaea Fifita, 21 Richard Judd, 22 James Marshall, 23 Jonah Lowe.
Date: Saturday, June 29
Venue: Christchurch Stadium, Christchurch
Kick-off: 19.35 (07.35 GMT)
Referee: Nicholas Berry (Australia)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Paul Williams (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)
As it happened: Crusaders v Hurricanes
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