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Super Rugby Preview: Reds v Crusaders

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Friday, March 1, 2019    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Match Details: Reds v Crusaders, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, 9.45pm (NZT), March 2, 2019.

Played: 24
Won: Reds 6, Crusaders 18
Last time: Reds 20-22 Crusaders, Brisbane, March 11, 2018
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
QUICK TAP: NONU NAMED TO START FOR BLUES
FORM

The Reds came off the first round bye to push the Highlanders hard in a competitive opening game in Dunedin last week going down 31-36. The Crusaders, after being driven hard to claim a 24-22 away to the Blues in the first round beat the Hurricanes more comfortably last weekend 38-22.

EXPERIENCE LIFT

The Reds will welcome back experienced loose forward Scott Higginbotham and prop JP Smith, although both will make their entrance from the bench. Higginbotham missed last week's game with the Highlanders due to a shoulder injury while Smith has been recovering from a knee injury. Harry Hockings will start at lock with Lukhan Salakaia-Loto moving to the blindside flank with Angus Scott-Young starting at No.8. Coach Brad Thorn said, "It's good to have Higgers and JP back. They bring good experience and provide us with a strong bench. Lukhan and Angus are both big, mobile players who provide us with good versatility and options in the back row."

CRUSADERS SHUFFLE

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has made five changes to his starting side from last week's team who beat the Hurricanes. Jordan Taufua has dropped to the bench allowing Tom Sanders his first start of the season on the blindside flank. In the backs, Mitch Drummond has the starting role at halfback while Tim Bateman replaces Ryan Crotty at second five-eighths. Replacing the injured Manasa Mataele on the right wing will be Braydon Ennor. Will Jordan has his first start at fullback with David Havili in the reserves.


THE SCOOP

The Reds have won their last two home games, their last a 21-point win over the Sunwolves, was their biggest home win since their 41-8 win over the Cheetahs in 2011.

FAST FACT

By completing their 17th consecutive win last weekend against the Hurricanes, the Crusaders have establishing the longest winning streak in Super Rugby.

TEAMS:

Reds: 1.Feao Fotuaika, 2.Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 3.Taniela Tupou, 4.Izack Rodda, 5.Harry Hockings, 6.Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 7.Liam Wright, 8.Angus Scott-Young, 9.Moses Sorovi, 10.Hamish Stewart, 11.Sefa Naivalu, 12.Samu Kerevi, 13.Jordan Petaia, 14.Chris Feauai-Sautia, 15.Bryce Hegarty.

Substitutes: 16.Alex Mafi, 17.JP Smith, 18.Ruan Smith, 19.Caleb Timu, 20.Scott Higginbotham, 21.Tate McDermott, 22.Duncan Paia'aua, 23.Isaac Lucas.

Crusaders: 1.Joe Moody, 2.Andrew Makalio, 3.Owen Franks, 4.Scott Barrett, 5.Quinten Strange, 6.Tom Sanders, 7.Matt Todd (captain), 8.Whetukamokamo Douglas, 9.Mitchell Drummond, 10.Richie Mo'unga, 11.George Bridge, 12.Tim Bateman, 13.Jack Goodhue, 14.Braydon Ennor, 15.Will Jordan.

Substitutes: 16.Ben Funnell, 17.Harry Allan, 18.Michael Alaalatoa, 19.Luke Romano, 20.Jordan Taufua, 21.Bryn Hall, 22.Mitchell Hunt, 23.David Havili.