Super Rugby 2018 Semi-Finals: Crusaders v Hurricanes Preview

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The Hurricanes will be looking to pull a major upset when they travel to Christchurch to take on the Crusaders on Saturday the 28th of July.

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The reigning Super Rugby champions, the Canterbury Crusaders, will welcome local rivals, the Hurricanes, to Christchurch this Saturday for what promises to be a thrilling 80-minutes of semi-final rugby.

The hosts head into this one as strong favourites with the bookmakers but will need to be wary of a Hurricanes side that is full of world-class attacking talent.

Crusaders v Hurricanes
28 July 2018
AMI Stadium
09:35

To Win (80 Mins)
Crusaders 1/3
Draw 25/1
Hurricanes 9/4

Handicap
Crusaders (-8.5) 9/10
Hurricanes (+8.5) 9/10

Crusaders
The title holders have once again been the standout side of the tournament, racking up 14 victories on their way to topping the Overall Conference ladder. They picked up from where they left off in their quarter-final against the Sharks as they ran the Natalian's ragged in the second-half to eventually run out 40-10 victors.

The Crusaders have a handy recent home record over the Hurricanes winning two of the last three clashes between the sides in Christchurch. Their last defeat on home soil to the Wellingtonian's was back in 2016 where they went down 10-35.

Hurricanes
The Hurricanes may not have been as impressive as the Crusaders during the round-robin phase but they still played some good rugby and ended the regular season as the second highest points scorers in the New Zealand Conference, behind the Crusaders. And considering they were missing talisman Beuaden Barrett for a number of games, this is a rather honourable record.

This weekend's visitors may have only beaten the Chiefs by a solitary point last weekend but the scoreline flattered the men from Waikato as the Hurricanes were 15 points to the good heading into the final four-minutes of the game. Nevertheless, coach Chris Boyd will need to drum it into his charges that they cannot afford to switch off against the Crusaders as they will be taken to task.

Verdict: Hurricanes (+8.5) 9/10 
While I do think the Crusaders will take the honours here, I can see the 'Canes giving them a real run for their money. As such, I'm on the away plus.

Squads

Hurricanes: 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Jordie Barrett, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Gareth Evans, 6 Brad Shields (c), 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Michael Fatialofa, 3 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith

Replacements: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Ardie Savea/Reed Prinsep, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Wes Goosen

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 Joe Moody

Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Braydon Ennor



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Written by Darry Worthington for @Hollywoodbets.net

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