Planet Rugby

Preview: Reds v Crusaders

09th May 2014 11:14

Share:

Greg Holmes Reds v Crusaders 2013

Clash of former champs: The Reds host the Crusaders

In desperate need of a positive result, the Reds face an uphill battle in Brisbane on Sunday against a Crusaders outfit reaching top form.

The Queenslanders' Super Rugby title in 2011 seems a distant memory as six losses from their past seven matches has left the Reds languishing at the bottom of the Australian conference.

On current form it's hard to see how they can turn the bus around against a Crusaders side that has gone from strength to strength in recent weeks.

The seven-time champions have shrugged off a slow start to the season and once again look like genuine title contenders following back-to-back wins over both of last year's finalists.

The Reds by contrast conceded 10 tries in heavy losses to the Hurricanes and Blues in recent clashes against Kiwi sides and have been struck by a spate of injuries to key personnel. Chris Feauai-Sautia (shoulder), Liam Gill (calf) and Ed Quirk (ribs) are all injured while James Slipper is suspended.

With just three wins from ten games this season, Reds coach Richard Graham is under massive pressure.

"Obviously it's tough times on the back of four straight losses, but you've just got to roll with it," said scrum-half Will Genia this week.

"It's obviously very disappointing, but that's part of sport, there's always winners and losers.

"The match against the Crusaders is an easy one to get up for, a benchmark side for many years now, and we're obviously very motivated.

"The message to the team from guys like James, Quade and myself is to keep backing ourselves and keep working," he said.

"It's a little bit of a cliche, but in tough times you've just got to stay tight and work hard."

For the Crudasers have been boosted by the return of All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw, who produced a vintage display against the Brumbies last week.

Tood Blackadder has been spared some tough choices in his back row by the absence of Kieran Read and an injury to Matt Todd, which allows McCaw to return to his usual position of openside flank.

Sunday's game is the first meeting of the two sides at Lang Park since the 2011 Final. The last meeting between these teams (2013) saw the Crusaders record their biggest ever win over the Reds (38 - 9).

The Crusaders have the best discipline in Super Rugby so far, conceding just 9.2 penalties/free-kicks per game.

Form: The Reds are coming off a four-game losing streak and were given a 30-point thrashing by the Blues in Auckland last week. Their last two home games saw defeats to the Brumbies (23-20) and the Force (32-29). The Crusaders have won their last four games, beating the Brumbies 40-20 last week. They have also won their last three matches on the road.

Previous results:
2013: Crusaders won 38-9 in Christchurch
2012: Crusaders won 15-11 in Christchurch
2011: Reds won 18-13 in Brisbane
2011: Reds won 17-16 in Brisbane

Prediction: The Reds have won the last three fixtures between these sides in Brisbane but on current form it's hard to seem the topple the Crusaders. Crusaders by nine points.

The teams:

Reds: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Anthony Fainga'a, 11 Jamie-Jerry Taulagi, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Beau Robinson, 6 Curtis Browning, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 James Hanson, 1 Ben Daley.
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Albert Anae, 18 Jono Owen, 19 Ed O'Donoghue, 20 Dave McDuling, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Ben Lucas, 23 Rod Davies.

Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Ryan Crotty (c), 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 George Whitelock, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Tyler Bleyendaal, 23 Nafi Tuitavake.

Date: Sunday, May 11
Kick-off: 16:05 local (07:05 BST, 06:05 GMT)
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia), Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)
Television match official: Steve Leszczynski (Australia)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 27
Saracens vs Sale15:00
Leicester vs London Irish15:00
Northampton vs Bath15:15
Sunday , September 28
Exeter vs Harlequins14:00
Wasps vs Newcastle14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 27
South Africa vs Australia16:05
Argentina vs New Zealand23:10
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 26
Edinburgh vs Scarlets19:35
Leinster vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Glasgow vs Connacht19:35
Saturday , September 27
Zebre vs Ulster15:00
Munster vs Ospreys18:30
Sunday , September 28
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Benetton Treviso16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , September 27
Toulon vs Montpellier18:00
Stade Francais vs La Rochelle18:00
Bayonne vs Toulouse18:00
Brive vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Oyonnax vs Clermont Auvergne18:00
Lyon vs Castres18:00
Grenoble vs Racing Metro Paris18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 26
Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls19:10
Saturday , September 27
Sharks vs Eastern Province Kings14:00
Pumas vs Western Province15:00
Griquas vs Lions15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle 10 - 35 NorthamptonNewcastle vs Northampton Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Ospreys 62 - 13 EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
ITM Cup
Otago 38 - 7 WaikatoOtago vs Waikato Report
Wellington 20 - 42 TasmanWellington vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 20
Sale 46 - 8 London WelshSale vs London Welsh Report
Harlequins 26 - 23 WaspsHarlequins vs Wasps Report
London Irish 32 - 36 SaracensLondon Irish vs Saracens Report
Bath 45 - 0 LeicesterBath vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 13 - 33 GlasgowNewport Gwent D
Scarlets 43 - 0 Benetton TrevisoScarlets vs Benetton Treviso Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Racing Metro Paris 27 - 16 ToulouseRacing Metro Paris vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 24 - 15 Bayonne
Montpellier 23 - 3 Stade FrancaisMontpellier vs Stade Francais Report
La Rochelle 26 - 29 Bordeaux-Begles
Clermont Auvergne 43 - 12 LyonClermont Auvergne vs Lyon Report
Castres 27 - 18 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Western Province 36 - 12 GriquasWestern Province vs Griquas Report
Blue Bulls 15 - 26 SharksBlue Bulls vs Sharks Report
Eastern Province Kings 22 - 37 CheetahsEastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Hawkes Bay 36 - 17 Bay Of Plenty
Manawatu 36 - 17 Southland
Auckland 32 - 7 North HarbourAuckland vs North Harbour Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester 22 - 25 ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Munster 31 - 5 ZebreMunster vs Zebre Report
Cardiff Blues 9 - 26 UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath314
2Saracens313
3Northampton311
4Exeter310
5Leicester Tigers39