Super Rugby 2017: Chiefs v Crusaders Preview


We preview the first of the Round 13 Super Rugby fixtures, which sees the Chiefs take on the Crusaders.

The pick of Round 13 Super Rugby action sees the top two New Zealand franchises go toe-to-toe at the ANZ Stadium on Friday. The Hurricanes result against the Crusaders last week means that the Chiefs, coming off a bye, retain second-place in the NZ Conference; eight-points off the log-leading 'Saders but with a game in hand. Friday's epic tussle gives the Chiefs the perfect opportunity to put one over the only undefeated side in the competition; especially since the 'Saders come off a gruelling few weeks of non-stop football.

Chiefs v Crusaders | Friday 19 May | ANZ National Stadium | 09:35

To Win (80 Mins)

Chiefs 23/20 | Draw 22/1 | Crusaders 13/20
Chiefs (-2.5) 9/10 | Crusaders (+2.5) 9/10

Dave Rennie's Hamiltonians really are one slick outfit. They are without a doubt one of the most well-balanced sides in the competition, and it's hard not to see them reach the last four at the very least. Having sat last week out, the Chiefs will set their sights on knocking their old rivals from Canterbury off their high-horses this Friday, as they look to build on their four straight wins.
As complete a package as this Chiefs band may seem, they come up against a Crusaders line-up that proved against the Hurricanes just how comprehensive they can be on their day (and, let’s be honest, most days do seem to belong to them). Sam Cane, Big Brodie Rettalick and Michael Leitch will need to stifle the 'Saders’ forwards’ efforts at the breakdown if they are to come away with first-phase ball, while the Chief’s front-row will need to scrum out of their skins if they are to halt the raw power of this Crusaders pack.

Aaron Cruden’s performance at first-five will have a huge bearing on the game, with the 2011 RWC-winner sure to look at keeping ball-in-hand to run his counterparts ragged. You can bet that the Chiefs will avoid the set-piece as much as possible (the Crusaders decimated the ‘Canes in this department last week), and bank on the Chiefs’ back-three taking as many quick line-outs as possible. High-tempo, running rugby will be the name of their game – especially since sunny conditions are expected.

The well-oiled machine steamrolls on. The Crusaders had a whole heap of pressure on their shoulders going into their clash with the Barrett-driven Hurricanes last week, but their immense physical display condemned their opponents to a second loss of the campaign, while keeping their 100%-win record intact. Scott Robinson’s pack absolutely monstered the ‘Canes at the set-piece, with a powerful line-out drive early on in the second-stanza providing them with the only score of the match. Indeed, their 20-12 victory was much more comfortable than the score-line suggests.

Yet, despite the incredible condition that the Kiwi players possess; the Crusaders must surely be vulnerable after such a gruelling recent schedule. Last week’s marvellous win was their first match back home after their South African tour, and a date with the Chiefs (fresh off their bye and playing at home) must surely be a bridge too far; especially considering the high-paced game we’re likely to see from the Waikato men.

The Crusaders will certainly make the last four of the competition, but they would be superhuman to claim a 12th-consecutive win this weekend. As brilliant as they are, they may just come unstuck for the first time this term.

Verdict: Chiefs 23/20
The intensely physical nature of the Crusaders’ last several games may work against them this Friday. They will be an exhausted bunch, and the Chiefs will look to add to their bruises. That being said; the Crusaders were superb in last weekend’s win, and they will certainly run the Chiefs close – no matter how fatigued they may be. Bet on the Chiefs to take it, though.

Written by Shaun Goosen for!

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  1. Hi Abel. Yeah, they've been a bit of a bogey side for the Crusaders in the past. What do you think of this week's other games?


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