Shaun Goosen takes a look at Sunday’s Super Rugby Aotearoa match between the Hurricanes and Crusaders which takes place at the Sky Stadium in Wellington.
Photo Copyright – Steve Haag Sports
Hurricanes v Crusaders
Sky Stadium, Wellington
To Win (80 mins)
Hurricanes (+7.5) 9/10
Crusaders (-7.5) 9/10
The Hurricanes will need a much-improved set piece showing if they are to usurp the Crusaders at the Sky Stadium on Sunday.
The hosts lost three on their own throw in last week’s loss to the Blues last week, while many more were scuppered by a wily Blues outfit. With Dane Coles set to come up against old chums Sam Whitelock and Scott Barrett here, there will be even less margin for error.
Jason Holland’s side also lost 25% of their scrums. The Crusaders are masters at set piece time and will punish the Canes for another haphazard showing at the stoppages.
Despite making the most carries of all four teams in the first round (132), the Canes made just eight clean breaks. Without a certain Beaudy Barrett to call upon, pivot Jackson Garden-Bachop will be under even more pressure to provide opportunities for the likes of Ngani Laumape and Vince Aso to penetrate the D.
Having had their first bye last week, the Saders may show similar signs of rustiness that were on display in the opening round. That said, they should still be favourites considering the Canes’ struggles last week.
Verdict: Crusaders by five
If they stick to their structures, the Crusaders should be able to grind out a narrow win.
Written by Shaun Goosen for Hollywoodbets.