Super Rugby Pacific: Crusaders v Blues – All you need to know

Crusaders v Blues

Kick-off: 7.05pm Saturday 25 May

Apollo Projects Stadium, Christchurch

Live blog updates on RNZ Sport

The Blues head south tonight to try to inflict some more pain on the Crusaders, who have had to deal with a week of headlines regarding coach Rob Penney’s inability to see that a microphone was still on during a team press conference.

Vern Cotter’s side is also after a win to get back into top spot after the Hurricanes’ close win over the Chiefs last night, which will be crucial in the play-offs.

The Crusaders are, somehow, still in with a chance of making the play-offs but they’ll need a win tonight plus a couple of other results to go their way.

They did manage to pull out a great performance against the Chiefs when everyone had written them off, so it’s not inconceivable.

Here’s the team lists:

Crusaders: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Chay Fihaki, 13 Dallas McLeod, 12 David Havili, 11 Sevu Reece, 10 Fergus Burke, 9 Noah Hotham, 8 Christian Lio-Willie, 7 Ethan Blackadder, 6 Cullen Grace, 5 Quinten Strange, 4 Antonio Shalfoon, 3 Fletcher Newell, 2 Codie Taylor (c), 1 Joe Moody

Bench: 16 George Bell, 17 George Bower, 18 Tamaiti Williams, 19 Jamie Hannah, 20 Tom Christie, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Taha Kemara, 23 Dallas McLeod

Blues: 15 Stephen Perofeta, 14 Mark Tele’a, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Corey Evans, 11 AJ Lam, 10 Harry Plummer, 9 Taufa Funaki, 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Adrian Choat, 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Sam Darry, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (c), 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Kurt Eklund, 1 Ofa Tu’ungafasi

Bench: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Joshua Fusitu’a, 18 PJ Sheck, 19 Josh Beehre, 20 Cameron Suafoa, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Cole Forbes, 23 Caleb Tangitau

Crusaders selections

Rob Penney Coach of the Crusaders, 2024.

Penney has welcomed back Ethan Blackadder and put him at openside, with one of the few success stories, Christian Lio-Willie, alongside him at number eight.

Levi Aumua was a late scratching, so Dallas McLeod gets a start at centre. Unbelievably, this is the first time he and David Havili have started a match together this season.

Codie Taylor takes over as captain, while Noah Hotham retains his spot at halfback and continues to push his case for higher honours.

Blues selections

Blues coach Vern Cotter.

Meanwhile, Cotter has brought back Stephen Perofeta after a false start last weekend, while Rieko Ioane pairs up with Corey Evans in the midfield.

Harry Plummer’s good form means that the rumours of an early return for Beauden Barrett remain just that, while Kurt Eklund has got the nod at hooker at the business end of the season.

Cole Forbes and Caleb Tangitau will have a bit of work to do when they are injected into the game – Cotter has rested in-form Caleb Clarke from the wing spot.

What they’re saying

“If you are looking to apportion blame, I will leave that to others. But all I know is that everyone in the organisation is working really hard to get the outcomes that we are deserving and would love to see.” – Crusaders coach Rob Penney.

“Yeah, definitely I do feel like we owe them one. But that’s to their credit, their success over the last however many years.” – Blues captain Patrick Tuipulotu.

The last time they met

Blues 26 – 6 Crusaders

While it was a bit of a dog of a match, the meeting at Eden Park was when the wheels really started to fall off for the Crusaders.

They dominated much of the game – particularly the first half – but couldn’t get over the line. Meanwhile, the Blues simply relied on a very effective set piece to totally destroy the Crusaders’ lineout and land a couple of solid scoring shots to take a comfortable victory.


It’s hard to see this going any other way than a Blues win, although maybe Penney’s outburst during the week might have stirred some emotions in his side.

However, Cotter’s team is just playing such good rugby at the moment that you’d probably back them regardless of the circumstances. A lot of this Blues group have already won in Christchurch against a good Crusaders side anyway, so it’s looking like a long night for the home side and their fans.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

Related News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button