The Blues travel to Christchurch to play the Crusaders in this Round 4 match from New Zealand. Join The Roar from 5:35pm (AEDT) for all the action.
Last week, the Blues suffered a disappointing loss at home to the Highlanders, while the Crusaders pulled off a last-minute victory in Brisbane.
The pressure appears to be on the Blues, who are staring down a third loss after the first month of competition and are yet to show the sort of form expected from such a talented roster.
As for the injury-plagued Crusaders, they are still unbeaten this season and looking to continue their marvellous start.
Consistent criticism of Ihaia West seems to have prompted Blues coach Tana Umaga to give Piers Francis an opportunity to start in the No.10 shirt, hoping he can provide the direction and consistency required.
Of course, Francis’ form won’t matter if the forwards cannot provide the platform up front against an experienced Crusader pack.
The Crusaders themselves, despite the successful start to their season, will not be completely happy, having had to stage remarkable comebacks in their last two matches. More consistent performances across the full 80 are required, as they’ve been guilty of taking too long to get into their matches.
Some key match-ups to look out for will be the clash of two up-and-coming centres, Jack Goodhue for the Crusaders and Reiko Ioane for the Blues, while at Number 8 the in-form Whetu Douglas matches up against the experienced Jerome Kaino.
The Crusaders should prove too much for a Blues side yet to demonstrate any composure or cohesion.
Crusaders by 9.
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