Crusaders v Highlanders (QF)

  • Highlanders

    1 Daniel Lienert-Brown
    2 Liam Coltman
    3 Siate Tokolahi
    4 Jackson Hemopo
    5 Tom Franklin
    6 Liam Squire
    7 James Lentjes
    8 Luke Whitelock
    9 Aaron Smith
    10 Lima Sopoaga
    11 Richard Buckman
    12 Rob Thompson
    13 Malakai Fekitoa
    14 Waisake Naholo
    15 Ben Smith (cc)

    16 Ash Dixon (cc)
    17 Aki Seiuli
    18 Siosuia Halanukonuka
    19 Alex Ainley
    20 Gareth Evans
    21 Elliot Dixon
    22 Kayne Hammington
    23 Marty Banks

    Pulse Energy Highlanders named to play quarterfinal in Christchurch

    It’s Quarter-Finals time and the Pulse Energy Highlanders will play the Crusaders in a Southern Derby match that will determine the season for both teams.
    The winner can look forward to playing a semi-final game against the Chiefs or Stormers while the losers will be spectators for the rest of the competition.
    Head Coach Tony Brown has a near full roster to choose from and his gone with a tried and true combination that has performed well in the back half of the competition. Ben Smith and Aaron Smith return to the backline that features Richard Buckman on the left wing and the hard running Rob Thompson in the midfield. Brown has also elected to go with a six: two forward/back split on the reserves bench, perhaps anticipating an intense forward battle.
    “It’s going to be an epic encounter, playing the NZ conference winners at home, obviously an extremely tough assignment against an experienced and well performed team, however our guys are very excited by the challenge they face” said Brown.
    The team will once again be co-captained by Ben Smith and Ash Dixon.

  • 6/2 split on the bench. Interesting.

  • 15 Ben Smith (cc)


  • This is really going to be a peach of a game. I don't think the Crusaders will walk it

  • @Hooroo Going to be a wet game. Can the Crusaders overcome the conditions and handle the line speed that the Highlanders will bring? In wet conditions, I am not too sure that they can. I am leaning towards the Highlanders to edge this.

  • @akan004 said in Crusaders v Highlanders (QF):

    @Hooroo Going to be a wet game. Can the Crusaders overcome the conditions and handle the line speed that the Highlanders will bring? In wet conditions, I am not too sure that they can. I am leaning towards the Highlanders to edge this.

    Oh I forgot about the weather. I actually think it leans in favourability towards the Crusaders. To me they will play the smarter percentage footy

  • @akan004 I see it the other way. The first matchups this year between these two were played in a) under a roof and b) afternoon sun. I think those games suited the Highlanders up tempo game. I think these conditions will suit the Crusaders.

    I think Crusaders expected 7 All Blacks in their starting 8 forward pack will be the difference (I think this and the expected conditions is why Highlanders have gone for 6 forwards 2 backs on the bench).

    Having said all that the Highlanders have won 3 away playoff games in the last two years (2 of those against the odds) so it should be a great game.

  • That is a pretty strong Highlanders side, was Li injured or just dropped in favour of Buckman? I'm also looking forward to see Squire start at 6.

  • Crusaders

    1 Joe Moody
    2 Codie Taylor
    3 Owen Franks
    4 Scott Barrett
    5 Sam Whitelock (C)
    6 Jordan Taufua
    7 Matt Todd (VC)
    8 Kieran Read
    9 Bryn Hall
    10 Richie Mo'unga
    11 Seta Tamanivalu
    12 Ryan Crotty (VC)
    13 Jack Goodhue
    14 Israel Dagg
    15 David Havili

    16 Ben Funnell
    17 Wyatt Crockett
    18 Michael Alaalatoa
    19 Luke Romano
    20 Pete Samu
    21 Mitchell Drummond
    22 Mitchell Hunt
    23 George Bridge

    BNZ Crusaders team to play the Highlanders in Quarter-Final

    The BNZ Crusaders enter the Investec Super Rugby finals series when they host the Highlanders on Saturday night.  The southern derby will decide which of the South Island teams makes it through to the semi-finals next weekend.
    Head Coach Scott Robertson has made five changes and three positional changes to the starting fifteen that played the Hurricanes last weekend.
    It is a fresh front row of Joe Moody, Codie Taylor and Owen Franks that will face the Highlanders forward pack.  Wyatt Crockett, Mike Alaalatoa and Ben Funnell will cover from the bench.
    Sam Whitelock returns to the starting line-up to captain the team, and vice-captain Ryan Crotty will also return at second-five.  That sees David Havili shift back to fullback and Israel Dagg move to the wing.
    Kick-off is at 7:35pm this Saturday night at AMI Stadium, Christchurch, and tickets are available from or the Ticket Direct app.

  • @Hooroo Can't say I agree with that. Am not convinced about Mo'unga's tactical kicking game yet. To be fair, I don't know too much about Hall and Drumond's respective kicking games as I haven't watched them too closely this year. But in Aaron Smith and Lima, the Highlanders have two quality guys who should be able to direct their team around in wet conditions.

    It's the line speed that the Higlanders will bring in defence that leads me to tip them. The Crusaders struggled against the rush against the Lions, the Canes in the 2nd half last week and also the Highlanders when they last played each other. If they overcome it, then I think they will win it but I'm not convinced that they can based on what I have seen this year.

  • @akan004 I hear ya but I feel that wet weather and the heavy track they will be on will negate their linespeed and the back (in posession) will barely see the ball outside of 9 and 10

  • Fuck I'm excited about this.

    Happy about the foul weather predicted. We won the first game against the highlanders with Rolling Mauls. No need to change that plan.

    Time for the ABs in the pack to stand up and show those journeymen how wet weather rugby is played.

  • Yeah - I'd think wet conditions with lots of handling errors meaning lots of scrums and reducing the cohesiveness of the backlines would help us.

    The more of the game played in the forwards and the less played in the backs the better IMO. 🙂

  • 10 man rugby conditions. Do 1-8 win it, or do 9 and 10?

  • Good to see many underestimating the forward game of this highlanders side. Here's hoping the Crusaders do the same.

  • Landers by 1 with @Chris-B's boy Marty Banks slotting the winning dropgoal in the dying minutes.

  • @No-Quarter Like this....?

    Be careful what you wish for.

    I've already got insurance money riding on the Highlanders knocking us over and then rolling a couple of teams returning from SA to take the title.

    (Mainly insurance against the taunting of my Highlanders supporting bro-in-law). 🙂

  • @Chris-B I have no recollection of that game.

  • Highlanders are going to pull rabbit out of hat and will win by 8 pts.

  • That's pretty much a full strength Crusaders team - for the first time this season.

    I'd possibly have gone with Ioane or Bateman instead of George Bridge on the bench, but otherwise nothing much to quibble about.

    Nice to see Pete Samu is fit again. Hope he's managed to get some club rugby under his belt.

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