Super Rugby Quarter-Final: Crusaders v Sharks Preview

Super Rugby Quarter-Final: Crusaders v Sharks Preview

The Sharks and Crusaders go head to head in Saturday's opening Super Rugby quarter-final. 

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Overall conference table toppers face the eighth placed Sharks in the first of Saturday's Super Rugby clash. The 'Saders chase their ninth title and their second consecutive one following their 2017 triumph over the Lions at Ellis Park.

Crusaders v Sharks
 09h35
21 July 2018
AMI Stadium (Christchurch)

To Win (80 Mins)
Crusaders 1/16
Draw 30/1
Sharks 7/1

Handicap 
Crusaders (-19.5) 9/10
Sharks (+19.5) 9/10

With only two losses to their name this season - the New Zealanders are in cruise control after finishing the round robin phase with 14 wins from their 16 matches. With the home advantage and big match temperament, the Crusaders are stacked favourites against an inconsistent Sharks outfit, with the handicap opening at -19.5.

The last time the Crusaders cleared that handicap was back in 2015 when the Crusaders ran away 52 -10 victors (but only after Jean Deysel conceded a red card).

Life has not been easy for the Sharks travelling to New Zealand, and have only one match in Christchurch out of the three played. This was when the likes of Cobus Reinach, Jean Deysel, and Frans Steyn where in the black and white. Take nothing away from this squad as on their day anything is possible.

Beast Mtawarira will make his 150th appearance in a Sharks jersey and the veteran will look to lead the lads from the front.

Past Results:

2011
Crusaders 44  - 28 Sharks
2011
Crusaders 36 - 8 Sharks - QF
2013
Sharks 21 - 17 Crusaders
2014
Crusaders 25 - 30 Sharks
2014
Crusaders 38 - 6 Sharks - SF
2015
Sharks 10 - 52 Crusaders
2016
Sharks 14 - 19 Crusaders


Squads:

Crusaders – 15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock (c), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Tim Perry.
Subs: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Manasa Mataele.

Sharks – 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Ruan Botha (c), 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Wian Vosloo, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Makazole Mapimpi.

Verdict: Crusaders (-19.5) 9/10
Afternoon scattered showers are expected in Christchurch on Saturday and a wet outfield won't do the visitors any good. The Crusaders forward pack will use their line-outs and rolling mauls to unpack the Sharks defence, allowing their back-line to provide the necessary execution. 

Value Bet: Sharks +19.5
With a lot at stake for the Sharks, the visitors could more than likely hold the 'Saders below the 19 point mark and the weather could restrict a free flowing game from a litter of tries.

Bold Bet: Sharks 7/1
With one of the best teams on paper, loaded with Springboks, the Sharks could pull a rabbit out of the hat.


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Writtern by Lungelo Mdladla for Hollywoodbets

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