Crusaders v Highlanders

  • Highlanders

    1 Daniel Lienert-Brown
    2 Liam Coltman
    3 Tyrel Lomax
    4 Pari Pari Parkinson
    5 Tom Franklin
    6 Shannon Frizell
    7 James Lentjes
    8 Elliot Dixon
    9 Kayne Hammington
    10 Josh Ioane
    11 Tevita Li
    12 Teihorangi Walden
    13 Rob Thompson
    14 Matt Faddes
    15 Ben Smith (C)

    16 Ash Dixon
    17 Ayden Johnstone
    18 Siate Tokolahi
    19 Josh Dickson
    20 Jackson Hemopo
    21 Folau Fakatava
    22 Bryn Gtland
    23 Patelesio Tomkinson

    Unavailable due to injury: Tevita Nabura – knee (season) Liam Squire (knee) Aaron Smith (ankle), Richard Buckman (achilles) Luke Whitelock (calf) Marty Banks (foot)

    Ben Smith will play his 150th game for the Highlanders on Friday night.
    Highlander #160 he made his debut in 2009 and debuted later that year for the All Blacks (75 games), he has scored 190 points for the southern-most club. Born and raised in Dunedin, schooled at the local Kings High School and a member of the local Green Island club, he can certainly lay claim to be a true southern man.
    An amazingly versatile player who can play equally well at wing or fullback, he has perfected the art of evasion, possessing an uncanny ability to break tackles and a rare skillset the enables him to play largely mistake free rugby week after week. The consummate professional his performances have earned him the reputation as being a model of consistency over the years.
    Head Coach Aaron Mauger is full of praise for his Captain, “it’s difficult to fully express Bender’s contribution to this team and the club over the years, it really is incalculable. He is the ultimate professional in how he conducts himself on and off the field and a great inspiration to any player. It’s fantastic he has reached the 150th game mark; a milestone Ben and his family can be very proud of.”

  • Despite the injuries, not a bad squad, although I wonder why Lentjes keeps getting picked over Hunt (if Hunt isn't injured). Elliott Dixon also isn't a shadow of his former self; I'd like to see Mikaele-Tu'u getting more opportunities, but maybe this is not the game for it. Obviously I'm biased, but I wish they'd started Fakatava; Hammington is so limited.

  • Crusaders

    1 Joe Moody
    2 Andrew Makalio
    3 Michael Alaalatoa
    4 Scott Barrett
    5 Sam Whitelock (C)
    6 Whetukamokamo Douglas
    7 Matt Todd (VC)
    8 Kieran Read
    9 Bryn Hall
    10 Richie Mo'unga
    11 Sevu Reece
    12 Ryan Crotty (VC)
    13 Jack Goodhue
    14 Braydon Ennor
    15 David Havili

    16 Ben Funnell
    17 Harry Allan
    18 Oliver Jager
    19 Quinten Strange
    20 Jordan Taufua
    21 Mitchell Drummond
    22 Mitchell Hunt
    23 Will Jordan

    The BNZ Crusaders will host the Highlanders this Friday night, and Head Coach Scott Robertson has named a side that features seven changes from the team that took the field against the Brumbies last week.  
    Andrew Makalio will start this game at hooker, and Ben Funnell has been named on the bench. Codie Taylor, who was withdrawn from last week's match with a calf strain, will be rested this week ahead of the bye. Owen Franks, who suffered a shoulder sprain in the Brumbies match, will also sit out the southern derby, and is replaced by Michael Alaalatoa in the No. 3 jersey. Oliver Jager will provide cover on the bench. 
    The final changes to the forward pack will see Sam Whitelock and Whetukamokamo Douglas return to the starting side, and Whitelock resume the captaincy. 
    At halfback, Bryn Hall and Mitchell Drummond swap this week, so that Hall starts and Drummond moves to the bench. Jack Goodhue and Braydon Ennor both return to the starting side at centre and on the right wing respectively. The only other change to the match day 23 sees Mitch Hunt replace Brett Cameron on the bench. 

  • @Stargazer That looks like the best available team. Douglas appears to have the edge on Taufua at present - I'd guess they like having four genuine lineout options.

    Our propping rotation is pretty light behind Franks and Moody (and Alaalatoa) with Perry out for most of the season.

  • @Chris-B Not sure. I noticed how much better Taufua plays at 8 than at 6 (similar to last year), and better at 8 than Douglas. That may have something to do with it (and with Read back, that means the bench). Taufua can also cover 7; I can't remember Douglas ever playing there.

  • @Stargazer Taufua also provided quite a lot of impact off the bench last week - but, won't surprise me if we mainly see Douglas at 6 from now on and mainly see Jordan coming off the bench (though Razor will doubtless keep a bit of rotation going - similar to Hall and Drummond).

  • I wonder if Taufua leaving is a factor as well. If his form was markedly better then it wouldn't, but I think when it's a close call that might make a difference.

  • Crusaders v Highlanders @ Christchurch Stadium, Christchurch
    Referee Ben O'Keeffe
    AR1 Damon Murphy
    AR2 Angus Gardner
    TMO Glenn Newman

  • The front row battle will be interesting, particularly Lomax (who was very good against the Canes) vs Moody. I would have taken Ayden Johnstone instead of DLB to test Michael Alaalatoa at scrum time. This youngster can scrum and I don't remember having seen him in trouble in this phase.
    However, I'd pick the Crusaders to win by a 10+ point margin.

  • Wow. Great try Smith

  • Lots of handling errors from the Cantabs so far. No flow

  • Awful

  • Ben Smith is on fire

  • Mounga shows the value of running at the line. I hope Beaudie is watching.

  • Crusaders speed of play is awesome.

  • Wasn't RM tackled?

  • @kev said in Crusaders v Highlanders:

    Crusaders speed of play is awesome.

    Yeah a try taken well from nothing.

  • @Toddy released the ball

  • Lol no gas from Faddes

  • Faddes must be injured - so slow

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