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PREVIEW: Crusaders v Waratahs

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016    allblacks.com    Getty Images

ROUND 13: Crusaders v Waratahs, Friday 20 May, 7.35pm, AMI Stadium, Christchurch

TALE OF THE TAPE
The Crusaders eight match winning streak was snapped in dramatic fashion by a rampant Highlanders last week while the Waratahs thumped the Bulls to bring up four straight wins. Looking at the head-to-head battle between these sides, the Waratahs have won the last two clashes and will bring up three consecutive wins over the Crusaders for the first time if they win at AMI Stadium.

WHO HAS THE BEST ISRAEL?
Two of the best performers for either team this season are the two Israels – Folau and Dagg. For the Crusaders, Dagg has returned revitalised from an injury enforced lay off. Rediscovering his attacking spark, Dagg has been one of the Crusaders most potent attacking weapons and provided a tactical kicking option to aid young first five Richie Mo’unga. Folau has bounced between the midfield and fullback for the Waratahs where he has been equally lethal on attack and defence.
150 UP FOR ANDY
Halfback Andy Ellis will join Corey Flynn and Wyatt Crockett as the only Crusaders to have played 150 matches for the side when he takes the field against the Waratahs. It has been a big week for veteran halfback with the announcement that this season will be his last with the Crusaders. He has a big challenge on his hands against opposite halfback Nick Phipps who crossed for a double last week against the Bulls.

RETURN OF THE ZAC
Former Crusaders wing Zac Guilford has recovered from a broken toe in round six to be selected on the Waratahs bench. The speedy wing impressed for the Waratahs early in the season and will be looking to make an impact against his former side. With Kurtley Beale injured, Guilford’s attacking ability becomes even more vital for the Waratahs.
BE THERE
A big crowd is expected at AMI Stadium to see the rival conference leaders clash. Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder said: “This is the last home game we’ll play until July, so it would be great to get a strong turnout on Friday night to cheer the team on.” Get TICKETS HERE.

TEAMS
Crusaders: 15: Israel Dagg 14: Johnny McNicholl 13: Kieron Fonotia 12: Ryan Crotty 11: Jone Macilai 10: Richie Mo’unga 9: Andy Ellis 8: Kieran Read (C) 7: Matt Todd 6: Jordan Taufua 5: Sam Whitelock 4: Luke Romano 3: Owen Franks 2: Codie Taylor 1: Joe Moody
Reserves: 16: Ged Robinson 17: Wyatt Crockett 18: Mike Alaalatoa 19: Scott Barrett 20: Tim Boys 21: Mitchell Drummond 22: David Havili 23: Marty McKenzie

Waratahs: 15: Andrew Kellaway 14: Reece Robinson 13: Israel Folau 12: David Horwitz 11: Rob Horne 10: Bernard Foley 9: Nick Phipps 8: Jed Holloway 7: Michael Hooper 6: Dean Mumm 5: Will Skelton 4: Dave Dennis 3: Tom Robertson 2: Tafatu Polota-Nau 1: Paddy Ryan
Reserves: 16: Angus Taavao-Matau 17: Hugh Roach 18: Jeremy Tilse 19: Sam Lousi 20: Wycliff Palu 21: Matt Lucas 22: Matt Carraro 23: Zac Guilford