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The Rebels cross the Tasman to tackle the Crusaders in Christchurch. Join The Roar from 5:30pm AEST for this Super Rugby showdown.
The Crusaders will be looking to bounce back from their stunning loss to the Chiefs in Fiji. They started brilliantly in Suva, but were overpowered in the second half in the most dramatic of contests.
Considering it was only the Crusaders’ second loss of the season, they will want a positive response. They remain on top of the comp by a far margin.
Vice-captain Ryan Crotty will make his 150th Super Rugby appearance in this game and the West Stand at Christchurch Stadium has been renamed the ‘Ryan Crotty Stand’ for the occasion.
The Crusaders have made just two changes since getting back from Fiji with Matt Todd returning to the starting side in place of Billy Harmon, and Bryn Hall also moving to the starting line up. Ereatara Enari will provide scrumhalf cover.
Prop Tim Perry is also back and has been picked on the bench.
The Rebels suffered a bitter defeat to the Waratahs last weekend and will want to get back on the horse. They need a win to keep their hold of second place in the Aussie conference, with the Tahs making a late rally.
But it won’t be easy for the Melbournians as they will be without several of their big guns.
Seven changes have been made to their starting XV with Wallaby hooker Jordan Uelese back in and a new halves combination in the shape of Michael Ruru and Matt To’omua.
Will Genia has been rested while the influential Marika Koroibete is on the bench along with Quade Cooper.
Sam Talakai, Angus Cottrell, Tom English, and Billy Meakes will all make their return to the starting XV, while Harrison Goddard joins the bench.
With such a mish-mash side this is a huge ask for the Rebels on the South Island. The Crusaders will be out to atone for Fiji and they are not the league leaders and defending champs for nothing. Expect a red-shirted onslaught. There will be blood.
Crusaders to win by 15 points.
Where: Christchurch Stadium, Christchurch
When: 5:30pm AEST
TV: Fox Sports
Betting: Crusaders $1.10, Draw $66, Rebels $10
15 David Havili, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Braydon Ennor, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Andrew Makalio, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Tim Perry, 18 George Bower, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Ere Enari, 22 Brett Cameron, 23 Ngane Punivai.
15 Dane Haylett-Petty (captain), 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Reece Hodge, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Tom English, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Michael Ruru, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Richard Hardwick, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Jordan Uelese, 1 Tetera Faulkner.
Replacements: 16 Anaru Rangi, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Luke Jones, 20 Ross Haylett-Petty, 21 Harrison Goddard, 22 Quade Cooper, 23 Marika Koroibete.