New Zealand sides ready for final round acid test

Crusaders WEB

It's a challenging task, with the defending champions building towards their competitive peak in second place on the points table.

The Hurricanes' last win at home against the Southerners was in 2018, and in all games between them, the Crusaders have won 10 of their last 11.

Since their bumpy start to the 2023 season, the Crusaders have won nine of their last 10 games, their last four consecutively.

However, the home team have some parts of their game where they could trouble the Crusaders.

The Hurricanes have the best try-scoring average (5.0) in the competition, although the Crusaders are second with 4.6. They have also been the best offloading side with 11.8 per game, with the Crusaders fifth on 9.6.

The Crusaders have made the most carries (131.8) per game, while the Hurricanes are third with (123.9). But the home team has made more line breaks, 7.1 (3rd) to 6.1 (6th), and has beaten more defenders, 27.8 (2nd) to 26.6 (4th).

Crusaders wing-centre Leicester Fainga'anuku's 10 tries are the most by a player on either side and third overall in the competition, but Hurricanes wing Kini Naholo and halfback Cameron Roigard have eight each and No8 Ardie Savea and wing Salesi Rayasi have seven each.

Hurricanes halfback Jamie Booth is ranked second for try assists with 13, while five-eighths Richie Mo'unga and David Havili have six each for the Crusaders.

Mo'unga has beaten 47 defenders, fourth across the competition, while Savea has beaten 37 in 10th. Hurricanes fullback Josh Moorby is sixth-ranked for metres gained with 1053.

Rayasi is second in the competition for offloads with 24, while second five-eighths Jordie Barrett and Roigard have made 17 each in fourth place – all for the Hurricanes.

The measure of successful tackles made has Crusaders flanker Tom Christie third with 157 and Hurricanes flanker Du'Plessis Kirifi fourth with 156.

Kirifi and Ardie Savea are sixth and eighth-ranked for turnovers won, with Kirifi having 12 and Savea 11.

Elsewhere in round 15, the Highlanders have their fate in their own hands when they travel to Eden Park for the opening game of the round on Friday night against the Blues. A win for the Southerners will secure a spot in the playoffs, while a loss will leave them sweating on the results of the Fijian Drua, Rebels and Western Force games. Get your tickets for the Blues v Highlanders clash HERE.

The next clash on Friday night sees the Melbourne Rebels playing for a chance in the playoffs when they face the ACT Brumbies in Canberra. A win will put them in the playoff zone but they will still need other results to go their way.

Saturday kicks off with a barnstormer from Suva where the Fijian Drua face the Reds. Like the Rebels, the Fijian Drua need a win to have any chance of making the playoffs but will still be sweating on other results. A loss for the Reds could also completely tip them out of the quarterfinals.

The Hurricanes host the Crusaders at Sky Stadium at 7.05pm on Saturday in a clash that will be crucial for both side’s momentum and confidence ahead of the playoffs next week. Get your tickets HERE for one of Super Rugby’s great rivalries.

Moana Pasifika have a chance to pick up their first win of the season when they take on the NSW Waratahs at Allianz Stadium at 9.3pm NZT. The Waratahs are locked into sixth place on the ladder and cannot move up or down no matter what happens in round 15.

It’s all on the line in the final clash of the regular season when the Western Force host the Chiefs at 12am NZT on Sunday. Depending on how other results have gone throughout the weekend, a victory to the Force could be enough to secure them a spot in the top eight. The Chiefs have already locked up top spot on the ladder but will want to continue their winning momentum into the knockout stages.

Catch all the action live on Sky Sport NZ.


View all