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Reds vs Crusaders
Super Rugby, 11 March, 2017
|Fulltime - Reds 20, Crusaders 22|
|Referee: Will Houston|
|Touch judges: Nic Berry & Damon Murphy|
|TMO: George Ayoub|
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It was a heartbreaking buzzer beater for the Reds on Saturday night as the Crusaders stormed home with 14 men to snatch another unlikely victory and keep their unbeaten record intact.
This Saturday night game sees the Crusaders travelling to Brisbane to play the Reds. Join The Roar from 7:45pm (AEDT) for all the live action as we cover this Round 3 match from Australia.
Both of these sides bring contrasting form to the table this evening, the Reds stuttering to a loss away in Perth last round while the Crusaders came from behind to defeat the Highlanders in a pulsating encounter under the roof in Dunedin.
With hot and humid conditions expected to play their part in this match, decision-making and accuracy of execution will be paramount for both sides this evening.
Both packs provide plenty of experience and certainly the Reds will want a better performance up front and in the set piece, a disappointing area from their last match.
A similar repeat performance will be disastrous against this formidable Crusaders forward pack.
Despite what is likely to be difficult decisions, I would expect both sides to use the substantial attacking arsenal they both possess and of particular interest to Reds fans will be seeing their former charge, Digby Ioane play his first Super Rugby match for the Crusaders.
There are several match ups to keep an eye on this evening. The Reds’ up-and-coming lock Izack Rodda earns a start and how he fares against one of the best in the business in Sam Whitelock will be keenly observed.
Two excitement machines in Seta Taminivula and Eto Nabuli line up against each other on the wings while the influence that each sides fullbacks, Karmichael Hunt and Israel Dagg could very well play a large part in determining the outcome.
One area the Reds will look to target will be the Crusaders’ halves of the relatively inexperienced pair of Mitchell Drummond and Mitch Hunt, playing away in foreign conditions and certainly while the loose forward trio contains such names as George Smith and Scott Higgenbotham, the ability is there to take full advantage.
The Reds’ own halves will need to make their mark on this game up against a more inexperienced pair and Nick Frisby and Quade Cooper will certainly need to produce a quality and cohesive performance tonight if the Reds want to put the Crusaders away.
I simply cannot look past the relative form of each side leading up to this match and there is too much work for the Reds to do within a week.
Crusaders by 12.
Join us here live on The Roar as we cover all the action and I would be keen to hear your thoughts on the match as it unfolds.