Match Details: Saturday 25 July, 7:05pm, Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch
Referee: James Doleman
Won: Crusaders 24, Hurricanes 12, 3 draws
Last match: Crusaders 39 Hurricanes 25 on 21 June 2020
Watch: Sky Sport 1
The Crusaders have been their usual best in Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa. They remain the only unbeaten side in the competition, having won all four of their games. Richie Mo’unga and Will Jordan have been outstanding for the Crusaders and so has skipper Codie Taylor. He’s led by example in his new role, having replaced regular captain Scott Barrett. The Hurricanes had a slow start to the season but find themselves on a three-game winning streak. They’ve really come into form over the last few weeks and they’ll be riding high after last week’s clutch win over the Blues.
The injury ward at the Crusaders is stacking up. Already without Scott Barrett and Cullen Grace, the Crusaders confirmed this week that vice-captain David Havili and young flanker Ethan Blackadder will miss the remainder of the competition with a thumb and knee injury, respectively. They are also without experienced midfielder Braydon Ennor this weekend, who suffered a foot injury against the Blues. They won’t be too down on themselves though, with Havili replaced by the exciting Will Jordan at fullback.
CAN THE HURRICANES BREAK THE DROUGHT?
July 16, 2016 was the last time the Hurricanes beat the Crusaders in Christchurch. It was also the last time the Crusaders were beaten at home. They are undefeated in 36 matches and since 2016 have gone onto win three straight titles. Orangetheory Stadium is certainly a fortress for the Crusaders, and they’ll be doing everything in their power to ensure that streak continues. The likes of TJ Perenara and Ardie Savea were part of the team that won back in 2016 though, so they’ll be able to call on past experience to try and break their winless drought in the garden city.
50th AND FINAL FOR BEN LAM
The Hurricanes winger will bring up his 50th game for his club this weekend and it will be his final as he gets set to take up a contract in France. Lam has signed with Bordeaux and they require him by early August. He’s been with the Hurricanes since 2017 and in that time has scored 32 tries and caused several headaches for his opposition with his speed and strength.
The Crusaders have won their last six Super Rugby games on the bounce against the Hurricanes – more than they had won in their 15 completed encounters prior.
Crusaders: 1. Joe Moody 2. Codie Taylor © 3. Michael Alaalatoa 4. Samuel Whitelock 5. Mitchell Dunshea 6. Tom Sanders 7. Tom Christie 8. Whetukamokamo Douglas (vc) 9. Bryn Hall 10. Richie Mo’unga 11. George Bridge 12. Jack Goodhue (vc) 13. Fetuli Paea 14. Sevu Reece 15. Will Jordan
Reserves: 16. Andrew Makalio 17. George Bower 18. Oliver Jager 19. Quinten Strange 20. Sione Havili 21. Mitchell Drummond 22. Brett Cameron 23. Leicester Fainga’anuku
Hurricanes: 1. Fraser Armstrong 2. Asafo Aumua 3. Tyrel Lomax 4. James Blackwell 5. Scott Scrafton 6. Reed Prinsep 7. Du’Plessis Kirifi 8. Ardie Savea 9. TJ Perenara © 10. Jackson Garden-Bachop 11. Ben Lam 12. Ngani Laumape 13. Peter Umaga-Jensen 14. Wes Goosen 15. Jordie Barrett
Reserves: 16. Ricky Riccitelli 17. Tevita Mafileo 18. Alex Fidow 19. Isaia Walker-Leawere 20. Vaea Fifita 21. Jamie Booth 22. Vince Aso 23. Chase Tiatia