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PREVIEW: Crusaders v Hurricanes

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Friday, May 12, 2017    allblacks.com    Getty Images


ROUND 12:
Crusaders v Hurricanes, Saturday 13 May, 7.35pm, AMI Stadium, Christchurch

FORM
The Crusaders have marched to 10 straight wins in 2017 and have just got better as the season has gone on. Last week in Pretoria, the Crusaders ran in 10 tries in their 62-24 demolition of the highly regarded Bulls. The Hurricanes have dropped just one game all season and finished strongly to beat the Stormers 41-22 in Wellington last week. Expect a fast running game with both teams averaging over 40 points per game in 2017.

QUICK TAP: NO SHORTAGE OF MOTIVATION FOR CRUSADERS vs HURRICANES

LAST TIME
The Crusaders need only look back to 2016 for motivation against the Hurricanes. On that day they were completely outclassed as the Hurricanes romped to a 35-10 win at AMI Stadium. It was a win that gave the Hurricanes belief on their way to a maiden Super Rugby title and dealt a big blow to the Crusaders hopes. Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said his side will be looking to express themselves against the Hurricanes. “You can't tighten up because of the opposition, it's the opposite, you've got to trust your instinct like we have been doing all year. It's a bigger stage and probably a bigger outcome so it's even more of an chance to express themselves.”

DEFUSING THE CROSS KICK
The Crusaders will need to defuse Beauden Barrett’s potent cross-kicking if they are to keep the Hurricanes in check. Barrett has perfected the art of the cross kick in 2017 and will surely look to continue the tactic in this blockbuster clash.
TRY TIME
The backbone of both the Crusaders and Hurricanes success this year has been their relentless attacking game. The Hurricanes average an even seven tries per game while the Crusaders are only marginally behind with an average of 6.1 tries per game. In the individual try-scoring stakes, Ngani Laumape is top of the pile with 11 tries, Vince Aso is in second on 10 tries and George Bridge is third overall with eight tries. In the lead up to this match, both coaches have said they will not deviate from their attacking game plan.

FAST FACT

The Hurricanes have won six of their last eight matches against the Crusaders, although only one of those victories game by more than seven points.

TEAMS
Crusaders: David Havili, Seta Tamanivalu, Jack Goodhue, Ryan Crotty, George Bridge, Richie Mo'unga, Mitchell Drummond, Jordan Taufua, Matt Todd (captain), Pete Samu, Scott Barrett, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Codie Taylor, Joe Moody. Reserves: Ben Funnell, Joe Moody, Michael Alaalatoa, Quinten Strange, Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, Bryn Hall, Mitchell Hunt, Manasa Mataele

Hurricanes: Jordie Barrett, Cory Jane, Vince Aso, Ngani Laumape, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara (c), Brad Shields, Ardie Savea, Reed Prinsep, Vaea Fifita, Mark Abbott, Jeffery To'omaga-Allen, Ricky Riccitelli, Chris Eves. Reserves: Leni Apisai, Ben May, Loni Uhila, Sam Lousi, Toa Halafihi, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Otere Black, Wes Goosen