PREVIEW: Crusaders v Jaguares

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016    Getty Images

Although they were a little shaky in overcoming the Force last week, the Crusaders are on their longest winning streak since 2011 with five wins in a row. On the other hand, the Jaguares are on a five match losing streak after winning their opening match against the Cheetahs. The Argentinians cannot be counted out though as three of those losses have come by under seven points.

Jaguares coach Raul Perez has made a staggering nine changes to the side that was defeated 40-22 by the Hurricanes last week. In the forward pack, skipper Agustin Creevy returns at hooker while world-class loose forward Juan Manuel Leguizamon grabs the number six jersey. The talking points in the backline are the inclusion of dynamic playmaker Juan Martin Hernandez at first-five and the evasive Joaquin Tuculet at fullback.
After Cory Jane notched 100 Super Rugby caps last week, Crusaders second-five Ryan Crotty will be the next player to cross the magical milestone. Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder said: “The boys will be keen to ensure that it is a memorable night for their good mate Ryan Crotty. We have been privileged to have him in the team for the last 99 games and we hope to have him around for many more.” Get TICKETS to help Ryan Crotty celebrate his 100th match.
With the first and second placed Chiefs and Highlanders enjoying a bye this week, the Crusaders have the chance to claim second place in the New Zealand Conference with victory over the Jaguares. A bonus-point win would see the Crusaders leap frog the Highlanders and go to 27 points – just two points behind the competition leading Chiefs.

It has been a long road back from injury for star fullback Israel Dagg since dislocating his shoulder playing for Hawke’s Bay in September last year. Called in as injury cover in Perth last week, it is fitting that the 64 cap Crusader makes his return on home turf at AMI Stadium. With a booming boot, sublime timing and line-breaking ability, Dagg will provide a boost to the Crusaders attack.


Crusaders: 15: Israel Dagg 14: Johnny McNichol 13: Kieron Fonotia 12:Ryan Crotty 11: Nemani Nadolo 10: Richie Mo’unga 9: Andy Ellis 8: Kieran Read 7: Matt Todd 6: Jordan Taufua 5: Scott Barrett 4: Luke Romano 3: Owen Franks 2: Codie Taylor 1: Joe Moody
Reserves: 16: Ged Robinson 17: Wyatt Crockett 18: Mike Alaalatoa 19: Jimmy Tupou 20: Tim Boys 21: Mitchell Drummond 22: Sean Wainui 23: Ben Volavola

Jaguares: 15: Joaquin Tuculet 14: Matias Orlando 13: Jeronimo de la Fuente 12: Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias 11: Emiliano Boffelli 10: Juan Martin Hernandez 9: Gonzalo Bertranou 8: Facundo Isa 7: Rodrigo Baez 6: Juan Manuel Leguizamon 5: Matias Alemanno 4: Guido Petti 3: Nahuel Tetaz Chaparrp 2: Agustin Creevy (C) 1: Santiago Garcia Botta
Resereves: 16- Facundo Bosch , 17- Felipe Arregui , 18- Enrique Pieretto , 19- Juan Cruz Guillemaín , 20- Pablo Matera , 21- Felipe Ezcurra , 22- Joaquín Paz , 23- Lucas González Amorosino