Highlanders v Crusaders





  • Strange decision to start Havili instead of Crotty.



  • Strange decision to start Havili instead of Crotty.

    It's only the Highlanders....
     
    We're also not starting Barrett and Moody.



  • Strange decision to start Havili instead of Crotty.

    Todd was on the radio saying he felt the last 20 was where this would be won or lost and Crotty's injection would be crucial...or something to that effect.



  • R&R for Moody and Barrett? They've been involved and shared heavy workloads.
    Crotty - bit puzzled as to why they've benched him - carrying a niggle maybe?



  • Todd was on the radio saying he felt the last 20 was where this would be won or lost and Crotty's injection would be crucial...or something to that effect.
    Hmmmm....he better live up to expectations..



  • Interesting teams. Man-for-man, in terms of "national rankings", none of the Highlanders' forwards would make it  into the Crusaders' pack (maybe Dixon over Taufua) and none of the Crusaders' backs would make it into the Highlanders' backline (maybe Fonotia over Faddes).



  • Interesting teams. Man-for-man, in terms of "national rankings", none of the Highlanders' forwards would make it  into the Crusaders' pack (maybe Dixon over Taufua) and none of the Crusaders' backs would make it into the Highlanders' backline (maybe Fonotia over Faddes).

    I'd pick Macilai over Osborne.



  • I'd pick Macilai over Osborne.

    I wouldn't



  • Am a bit disappointed that moody isn't starting, crusaders need to win the battle up front to have a chance of winning.



  • Am a bit disappointed that moody isn't starting, crusaders need to win the battle up front to have a chance of winning.

    Yeah - that one surprised me. Moody's scrummaging looks more reliable than Wyatt's. 
     
    I'm also pretty surprised they've gone with Havili over Crotty. Even though Davey's been going well, surely you want your No.1 guys on the field for most of this game.



  • Am a bit disappointed that moody isn't starting, crusaders need to win the battle up front to have a chance of winning.

    I'm not too concerned about Wyatt starting as I don't think its going to be too difficult a scrum battle. Wyatt's work around the park is still at a very high level this season and the way the Landers move the ball this might be a consideration as to why he gets the nod. um



  • R&R for Moody and Barrett? They've been involved and shared heavy workloads.

    The workload of the three locks has been pretty even so far this season in terms of minutes, so its more a rotation thing



  • Yeah - that one surprised me. Moody's scrummaging looks more reliable than Wyatt's. 
     
    I'm also pretty surprised they've gone with Havili over Crotty. Even though Davey's been going well, surely you want your No.1 guys on the field for most of this game.

    I wish they'd do the sensible thing, and demote Fonatia to the bench, then combine Havili and Crotty in midfield...



  • Fonotia has actually played his best rugby ever over the last few weeks outside Havili while Crotty was injured so it is not that big a surprise. I do agree long term 12 Havili 13 Crotty has an exciting look to it.



  • Which raises the question if Havili can make a donkey like Fonotia look good could he be a bolter for the All Blacks?



  • I'd pick Macilai over Osborne.

    Macilai looks like he is carrying a few more kegs nowadays



  • Crusaders favourites?



  • I'm not too concerned about Wyatt starting as I don't think its going to be too difficult a scrum battle. Wyatt's work around the park is still at a very high level this season and the way the Landers move the ball this might be a consideration as to why he gets the nod. um

    Good point, it's only Josh Honeck at tighthead. I'm glad they've left Halanukunuku on the bench. He's a better scrummager I reckon
     
    I'm also reasonably happy with Fonotia starting, he's been excellent this year.



  • Which raises the question if Havili can make a donkey like Fonotia look good could he be a bolter for the All Blacks?

    Don't think so at this point. Havili's been good, but more in a "very solid" sort of way, rather than outstanding.
     
    Fonotia has been a significant improvement on last year's version.
     
    TAB has the Crusaders @ $1.80, Highlanders @ $2.00
     
     Very hard to call this one IMO - anything could happen including either team winning quite comfortably.



  • Game is now officially a sell out.



  • Good point, it's only Josh Honeck at tighthead. I'm glad they've left Halanukunuku on the bench. He's a better scrummager I reckon
     
    I'm also reasonably happy with Fonotia starting, he's been excellent this year.

    So am I



  • Crusaders favourites?

    Always.



  • A great piece on why the Highlanders arw now the team to beat. Featuring the most electrifying man in sports entertainment. 
     
    http://thespinoff.co.nz/12-05-2016/forgot-about-marty-the-real-reason-the-highlanders-are-winning-again/#.VzP1YhabLFY.twitter

    While most rugby pundits talk up the return of Waisake Naholo, the true catalyst for the Highlanders’ Super Rugby resurgence flies under the radar, writes Scotty Stevenson.

    Highlanders teammates gather around Marty Banks, a source of good luck (but bad banter). (Photo by Simon Watts/Getty Images)

    In most people’s eyes there was only one star of the show for the Highlanders last weekend in Hamilton, a large Fijian-born winger called Waisake Naholo who returned to action after another layoff due to a broken leg and wreaked merry havoc on the Chiefs’ goal line and their ruck ball. But were we blinded by the light? Does credit for the Highlanders’ most assured performance of the season really deserve to go to someone else?
    You’re damn right it does. While the New Zealand rugby public frothed over the return of Naholo (and not without reason, I might add) one Marty Banks, a Reefton native and undisputed champion of terrible banter, also quietly made his return to Super Rugby after a similarly long layoff. Not one pundit or fan gave this revelatory reappearance a second thought. How could this be?
    Banks may well be the most talismanic figure in world rugby, albeit one who looks exactly like Screech from Saved By The Bell. Everywhere Banks goes, titles follow. In 2012 he guided his home province Buller to its first ever national championship, setting a new team points record on his way to sharing in the spoils of their first-ever Lochore Cup victory. In 2013, he top scored in the ITM Cup Championship, setting a new Tasman points record as the Makos went on to secure their first-ever national trophy with a 26-25 win over Hawkes Bay. In 2015 he kicked a dropped goal in the dying stages of the Super Rugby final, helping the Highlanders to their first-ever title.
     
    There is a pattern here so obvious that no-one is talking about it. The only New Zealand team he has played for that hasn’t won a title is the Hurricanes. There are two reasons for this: the Hurricanes are cursed, and Banks hardly played a game.
    Talk all you want about the Highlanders’ superior control against the Chiefs, or their pin-point aerial masterclass, but let’s be honest, the entire team lifted its game just knowing that Marty Banks was on the bench – none more so than Lima Sopoaga who just knew Banks was waiting to cut his lunch and take his jersey. Lima did the right thing, leaving the field for nine minutes of the first half, just long enough to watch Banks casually slot a goal that in his own words “would have bounced off the upright if it had been given one extra coat of paint”. Always self-deprecating! Marty Banks! What a team man!
    Forwards are not immune to Banks’ outsized presence either. Every one of them knows that Banks will play anywhere if it means getting a couple of minutes. How else do you explain Daniel Lienert-Brown’s Banksesque show-and-go try while standing at first receiver, or Dan Pryor’s match-topping 15 tackles. Banks was hovering on the sidelines, whispering sweet nothings in the ear of team manager Moose McLaughlan, just waiting for a chance to play lock.
    There is a direct correlation between Banks’ absence and the recent disappearance of the Highlanders’ famed team spirit. Never before has a team relied so much on one man for cheap gags, the kind that settle the nerves and recalibrate a side before battle. Banks has long been the victim of these jokes. As his coach and confidante Tony Brown once said, “All the boys enjoy his company. He tends to take a lot of shit and he tried to give it back but he’s just not as funny as everyone else.”
    His Tasman coach, Leon MacDonald says, “He takes a lot of shit, but half the problem is he thinks he’s got great chat.” How can two former All Blacks be wrong? Always the fall guy! Marty Banks! What a team man!
     
    Banks even found the time before the match in Hamilton to share a few quiet words with that other titan of team spirit, Stephen Donald, who when asked how he was going to go running the water for the Chiefs that night remarked, “pretty good I hope, I don’t want to get sacked from this job, too.”
    It was just the kind of thing Marty Banks would have said, if he’d thought of it first. Instead he asked if this reporter would be in Dunedin next week, and when the answer was in the affirmative, he replied, “I hope you get dropped and don’t make it.”
    Then he went and used up the entire team supply of medical tape and quietly returned to action as the Highlanders quietly returned to form. So you can thank Waisake Naholo for the tries and the turnovers won, and you can thank the coaching staff for the tactical brilliance. But perhaps a nod to the return of Marty Banks is in order – the luckiest of lucky charms who genuinely feels like he’s just lucky to be there.
    And who has absolutely no chat.



  • Another Scotty Stevenson hero worshipping puff piece.
     
    He certainly has a distinct writing style.



  • Yeah - that one surprised me. Moody's scrummaging looks more reliable than Wyatt's.
    I'm also pretty surprised they've gone with Havili over Crotty. Even though Davey's been going well, surely you want your No.1 guys on the field for most of this game.

    Agee Moody has been excellent it Wyatt has also been very solid I thought. Other than one game where he looked to be under pressure and was penalised twice at scrum time, he has performed very well.
    Even though the Landers don't have a weak scrum, it's not the strongest either. We will look to gain some dominance there.



  • Cheer up crusaders fans. You're getting Romano and Crockett starting ahead often two other guys and you're splitting hairs? I think you'll survive the forward battle.
    Sent from my VF-895N using Tapatalk



  • TAB odds have come back to $1.87 for each team. Must have been a bit of money on the highlanders.
     
    I'm really excited for this game. Crusaders have had a pretty easy run to the top of the table. Quite easily our toughest match of the season so far.



  • TAB odds have come back to $1.87 for each team. Must have been a bit of money on the highlanders.
     
    I'm really excited for this game. Crusaders have had a pretty easy run to the top of the table. Quite easily our toughest match of the season so far.

    Mark Stafford from the TAB said last week all the money was going on the Chiefs right up until just before k/o when money started to go on the Highlanders, so maybe Highlander fans like to leave it late!



  • Cheer up crusaders fans. You're getting Romano and Crockett starting ahead often two other guys and you're splitting hairs? I think you'll survive the forward battle.

    I think we have to dominate the forward battle convincingly, because we're going to get beaten by their backs. For me, that entails running out our strongest pack at the start - so I'd be going with Moody over Wyatt - happy enough with Romano (I'd be starting Crotty).
     
    Like Sammy, I'm very much looking forward to this game, which is huge in terms of the NZ conference.
     
    Crusaders win and it's pretty much a two-way dogfight vs the Chiefs, with the other teams probably too far behind to make up the gap with just five games left - and us with some decent breathing space at the front and genuine favourites to win the conference.
     
    Highlanders win and suddenly a blanket is covering the field and we'll be looking more like pretenders.



  • Tipping is difficult this week. I have not the vaguest clue who's going to win this game. Will be a narrow margin, I guess, but in who's favour?  :think:



  • Anyone know why they don't open that seating area behind the goalposts at one end?



  • 3-0 after a few minutes.



  • Another penalty against the Saders. Some talk out there too.



  • Just home in time. Go the landers.
    Think limas boot could be the difference. ...well hoping so



  • Crazy ball movement! It's all over the place.
    Crusaders hard on attack now



  • Landers penalized. More pushing & shoving.



  • Anyone know why they don't open that seating area behind the goalposts at one end?

    Because there's no seating there



  • 3-3 after 8.



  • We look sharp in attack early on.


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