Super Rugby Preview: Crusaders v Brumbies

Getty Images

Friday, April 5, 2019    Getty Images

Match details:
Crusaders v Brumbies, 5.15pm Saturday 6 April, Christchurch Stadium. TICKETS.

Played: 25
Won: Crusaders 17, Brumbies 8
Last time: Crusaders 21, Brumbies 8 (28 April 2018)
Referee: Jaco Peyper


Aside from a hiccup to the Waratahs in round five, the Crusaders have looked at their imperious best in 2019 and deservedly sit at the top of the Super Rugby ladder. Last week they welcomed Kieran Read back for the first time this season in a clinical 32-8 victory over the Hurricanes. The Brumbies have a two win-four loss record in 2019 with their best performance coming in a 54-17 thumping of the Chiefs in round four.


The Crusaders are back to full strength in the front row with Owen Franks and Joe Moody back from injury to partner Codie Taylor up front. With Scott Barrett starting in the four jersey and Sam Whitelock on the bench, the Crusaders are close to fielding an All Black-strength tight five. The match will also mark Owen Franks’ 150th game for the Crusaders (149 Super Rugby games).

Although the Brumbies boast an exciting back three in Thomas Banks, Henry Speight and Toni Pulu, their biggest area of strength for the Canberra-based side is at the breakdown. The Brumbies have conceded the least amount of turnovers in the competition while effecting an averaging of 8.3 turnovers per match (second in the competition). Former Crusader Pete Samu has been highly effective for the Brumbies while former sevens star Thomas Cusack has filled the shoes of master pilferer David Pocock who remains side-lined through injury.

Jaco Peyper will bring up his 100th Investec Super Rugby game as a referee in Christchurch on Saturday. Peyper’s first game in charge was between the Lions and Highlanders in Johannesburg in 2009 and he has since gone onto become one of the most respected and consistent referees in the world game. To underline his quality and longevity as a referee, Peyper will become just the fourth referee in Super Rugby history to reach the milestone behind Steve Walsh, Craig Joubert and Jonathan Kaplan.
The Crusaders have won their last eight Super Rugby games against theBrumbies, last losing to the Australian side over 10 years ago (February2009).

There’s no tougher ask in Super Rugby than taking on the defending champions on their home soil. The Brumbies haven’t won on NZ soil since beating the Hurricanes 29-21 in March 2014. A victory over the table topping Crusaders will not only be a huge upset, but also snap a 12-match losing streak in New Zealand.

15: David Havili 14: Will Jordan 13: Tim Bateman 12: Ryan Crotty (VC) 11: Sevu Reece 10: Richie Mo'unga 9: Mitchell Drummond 8: Kieran Read 7: Matt Todd (C) 6: Ethan Blackadder 5: Quinten Strange 4: Scott Barrett 3: Owen Franks 2: Codie Taylor 1: Joe Moody
Reserves: 16: Ben Funnell 17: Harry Allan 18: Michael Alaalatoa 19: Sam Whitelock 20: Jordan Taufua 21: Bryn Hall 22: Brett Cameron 23: Leicester Faingaanuku

Brumbies: 15: Tom Banks 14: Henry Speight 13: Tevita Kuridrani 12: Irae Simone 11: Toni Pulu 10: Christian Lealiifano 9: Joe Powell 8: Lachlan McCaffrey 7: Tom Cusack 6: Pete Samu 5: Murray Douglas 4: Darcy Swain 3: Allan Alaalatoa 2: Josh Mann-Rea 1: James Slipper
Reserves: Connal McInerney, Vunipola Fifita, Tom Ross, Sam Carter, Jahrome Brown, Matt Lucas, Jordan Jackson-Hope, Andy Muirhead