Planet Rugby

Preview: Reds v Crusaders

27th May 2011 15:21

Share:

carter v cooper

Cooper v Carter: One of several key match-ups to look forward to

This is it! The Super Rugby showdown we've all been waiting for, when the table-topping Reds tackle the Crusaders in Sunday's Brisbane battle royale.

Round 15 brings some crunch games, but none bigger than this as Australia's best goes up against arguably New Zealand's best in what could be this year's Super Rugby final warm-up.

Victory for the Crusaders will get them within striking distance of New Zealand Conference leaders the Blues, while a win for the Reds will extend their lead at the top of the table.

The Queenslanders have yet to win the southern hemisphere championship and face a major test of their title credentials against the seven-time champion Crusaders.

The Reds, regenerated under the coaching of former Wallaby prop Ewen McKenzie, have now won 11 in a row at Suncorp Stadium and their win over the Crusaders at the same venue last year broke a run of 11 losses against the Kiwi heavyweights.

In the corresponding game last year, the Queenslanders put the Crusaders to the sword with Will Genia and Quade Cooper dominating in a 41-20 bonus point blow out in Brisbane.

The hosts have only lost twice this season and are coming off a bye following a closely fought win against the Blues in Round 13.

The Crusaders, after a run of six wins, dropped two of their last five. They bounced back from a shock loss to the Cheetahs, to record a less than impressive 25-19 win over the Chiefs at home last week.

A full house is expected at Suncorp Stadium, and Reds coach McKenzie said the buzz surrounding the game had been building for weeks along with ticket sales.

"No matter what the circumstances are, our team always thrives on playing at Suncorp Stadium, but to be playing in front of more than 40,000 fans is something the players are really looking forward to," McKenzie said.

"Historically games between the Reds and Crusaders are entertaining affairs and I don't expect Sunday to be any different."

The Reds have produced their best attacking rugby at Suncorp Stadium by scoring 374 points during their current 11-game win streak, an average of 34 points a game.

Reds captain James Horwill described the Crusaders as the benchmark in the competition but said the Reds were looking forward to the challenge.

"The Crusaders have proven they are the standard bearers (of Super Rugby). But we enjoy playing the Crusaders and it's always a tough game," said Horwill. "It's going to be an open-styled running game and one we are looking forward to.

Horwill added that the Reds are braced for their toughest match of the season.

"I don't think there's ever a good time to play the Crusaders," he said.

"I'm pretty sure they'll come out firing and they'll be at their best on the weekend."

Prediction: The Crusaders will need to bring their 'A' game otherwise one feels Richie McCaw and his troops will suffer the same fate as the Blues a fortnight ago. Tough to call. Reds by three!

Reds: 15 Ben Lucas, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Anthony Faingaa, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Radike Samo, 7 Beau Robinson, 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 James Horwill (capt), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 James Slipper, 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Ben Daley.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Greg Holmes, 18 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 19 Jake Schatz, 20 Ian Prior, 21 Will Chambers, 22 Dom Shipperley.

Crusaders: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Brent Ward, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 George Whitelock, 5 Chris Jack, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald/David Hall, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Luke Romano. 19 Matt Todd/Joe Wheeler, 20 Steve Alfeld, 21 Matt Berquist, 22 Ryan Crotty.

Referee: Stu Dickinson

  • Super Rugby Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Super Rugby
Saturday , August 2
Waratahs vs CrusadersWaratahs vs Crusaders Preview
More Super Rugby fixtures
  • Super Rugby Results
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Super Rugby
Saturday , July 26
Waratahs 26 - 8 BrumbiesWaratahs vs Brumbies Report
Crusaders 38 - 6 SharksCrusaders vs Sharks Report
Saturday , July 19
Brumbies 32 - 30 ChiefsBrumbies vs Chiefs Report
Sharks 31 - 27 HighlandersSharks vs Highlanders Report
Saturday , July 12
Crusaders 34 - 8 HighlandersCrusaders vs Highlanders Report
Reds 3 - 34 WaratahsReds vs Waratahs Report
Lions 60 - 25 CheetahsLions vs Cheetahs Report
Stormers 10 - 34 SharksStormers vs Sharks Report
Friday , July 11
Blues 8 - 11 ChiefsBlues vs Chiefs Report
Brumbies 47 - 25 Western ForceBrumbies vs Western Force Report
More Super Rugby results
  • Super Rugby Table
Super Rugby Table
PosTeamPPts
1Waratahs1658
2Crusaders1651
3Sharks1650
4Brumbies1645
5Chiefs1644
6Highlanders1642
7Hurricanes1641
8Western Force1640
9Bulls1638
10Blues1637
11Stormers1632
12Lions1631
13Reds1628
14Cheetahs1624
15Melbourne Rebels1621
Australian Conference
Super Rugby Table
PosTeamPPts
1Waratahs1658
2Brumbies1645
3Western Force1640
4Reds1628
5Melbourne Rebels1621
New Zealand Conference
Super Rugby Table
PosTeamPPts
1Crusaders1651
2Chiefs1644
3Highlanders1642
4Hurricanes1641
5Blues1637
South African Conference
Super Rugby Table
PosTeamPPts
1Sharks1650
2Bulls1638
3Stormers1632
4Lions1631
5Cheetahs1624