Preview: Crusaders v Brumbies     11 Mar 2011    

VENUE & TIME: Trafalgar Park, Nelson. March 11, 2011, 19.35 (NZT) HEAD TO HEAD: Crusaders 10, Brumbies 18 LAST TIME: May 14, 2010 (Christchurch) – Crusaders 40 – Brumbies 22. WALKING WOUNDED: Clearly the Crusaders are looking to the longer term with rests for Brad Thorn and Owen Franks not included in the starting XV. Mitch Chapman returns from a one week suspension to take his place at flanker. FORM: Crusaders: Week 1: Lost v Blues 22-24 Week 2: Drew v Hurricanes 0-0 Week 3: Won v Waratahs 33-18 Brumbies: Week 1: Won v Chiefs 28-20 Week 2: Lost v Rebels 24-25 Week 3: Lost v Reds 25-31 WHO'S HOT: Despite a patchy start, the pairing of Robbie Fruean and Sonny Bill Williams had the upper hand with some deft moves and typical offloads ensuring the home side had momentum. It was only Williams' first match so expect to see more improvements to his offloads and decision making. Matt Giteau and Adam Ashley-Cooper need to rebound from their deflating loss to the Reds immediately and it could be these two that could provide the goods for the visitors. WE THINK: The Crusaders are back in Nelson and will have another packed crowd. With their emotion-charged win over the Waratahs firmly in the backburner, the home side will be looking to create some consistency after the horrific earthquake last month had a huge effect on their preparation. The Crusaders should be too strong for this Brumbies outfit. Crusaders win by 12-15. TEAMS: Crusaders: 1. Wyatt Crockett, 2. Corey Flynn, 3. Ben Franks, 4. Chris Jack, 5. Sam Whitelock, 6. George Whitelock, 7.Matt Todd, 8. Kieran Read (c), 9. Andy Ellis, 10. Dan Carter, 11. Adam Whitelock, 12. Sonny Bill Williams, 13. Robbie Fruean, 14. Sean Maitland, 15. Israel Dagg. Reserves: 16. Quentin MacDonald, 17. Owen Franks, 18. Brad Thorn, 19. Jonathan Poff, 20. Willi Heinz, 21. Matt Berquist, 22. Tom Marshall. Brumbies: 1. Ben Alexander, 2. Stephen Moore, 3. Dan Palmer, 4. Ben Hand, 5. Mark Chisholm, 6. Mitch Chapman, 7. Colby Faingaa, 8. Ita Vaea, 9. Josh Valentine, 10. Matt Giteau (c), 11. Francis Fainifo, 12. Robbie Coleman, 13. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14. Henry Speight, 15. Pat McCabe. Reserves: 16. Huia Edmonds, 17. Salesi Ma'afu, 18. Peter Kimlin, 19. Julian Salvi, 20. Patrick Phibbs, 21. Matt Toomua, 22. Christian Lealiifano. REFEREE: Garratt Williamson