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Super Rugby Preview: Stormers v Crusaders

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Thursday, May 16, 2019    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Match Details: Stormers v Crusaders, DHL Newlands, Cape Town, 3.15am (NZT), Sunday, May 19

Played: 22
Won: Stormers 4, Crusaders 17, Drawn 1
Last time: Stormers 28-45 Crusaders, Christchurch Stadium, March 3, 2018
Referee: Nic Berry

FORM

The Stormers have had a mixed season. They lost their first outing to the Bulls 3-40a but then beat the Lions 19-17, the Sharks 16-11a and the Jaguares 35-8. They lost to the Hurricanes 28-34a, the Blues 9-24a and the Reds 12-24a before beating the Rebels 41-24a. Back in South Africa they lost to the Brumbies 17-19, beat the Bulls 24-23 and then lost to the Jaguares 25-30a. The Crusaders have only the one loss on their record a mid-campaign 12-20a to the Waratahs. Their first winning sequence saw them beat the Blues 24-22a, the Hurricanes 38-22, the Reds 22-12a and the Chiefs 57-28. They had two points from their abandoned game with the Highlanders and after their loss they beat the Hurricanes 32-8a, the Brumbies 36-14, the Highlanders 43-17, the Lions 36-10, drew with the Sharks 21-21 and beat the Bulls 45-13a.
KEY STORMERS RETURN

The Stormers have been bolstered by the return of captain Siya Kolisi, fellow flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit and second five-eighths Damian de Allende. There is one surprise selection with Josh Stander preferred at first five-eighths to Jean-Luc du Plessis. Stormers coach Robbie Fleck said: "The Crusaders are loaded with All Blacks and they have a decent pack. It will be a big battle up front, but we can be proud of the pack we have on paper. We need to match their intensity up front, and this is the best pack we have at our disposal. There is a certain way you have to play against the Crusaders. But we don't want to be giving them possession unnecessarily because they will punish you. We have to back ourselves to retain possession. We have to frustrate them by not allowing them to play the game their way."

MOODY FORCED OUT

The Crusaders had hoped loosehead prop Joe Moody would have recovered from a deep cut to his knee suffered against the Bulls last weekend but he hadn't and so left the side and returned to Christchurch. It is hoped his early return will help having him ready to meet the Blues next weekend. The gives George Bower a chance in his place and coach Scott Robertson said, "George is extremely excited. He's been exceptional ever since he came into the group. He's taken every opportunity. He can scrum, he's great around the field. He's a great pick up for us, just works extremely hard, so we're excited to give him that opportunity."

THE SCOOP

The Crusaders go into the game having won their last five games in South Africa, the only better winning streak by an Australasian team is the six for the Blues from 2002-05.

FAST FACT

The Stormers have only only three of their last 16 games against New Zealand teams and go into Sunday's game having scored the fewest tries (22) in the competition against the side which has scored the most with 55.

TEAMS:

Stormers: 1.Steven Kitshoff, 2.Bongi Mbonambi, 3.Wilco Louw, 4.Eben Etzebeth, 5.Cobus Wiese, 6.Siya Kolisi (captain), 7.Pieter-Steph du Toit, 8.Jaco Coetzee, 9.Herschel Jantjies, 10.Josh Stander, 11.Dillyn Leyds, 12.Damian de Allende, 13.JJ Engelbrecht, 14.Seabelo Senatla, 15.Damian Willemse.

Substitutes: 16.Scarra Ntubeni, 17.Corne Fourie, 18.Frans Malherbe, 19.Kobus van Dyk, 20.Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21.Justin Phillips, 22.Jean-Luc du Plessis, 23.Dan Kriel.

Crusaders: 1.George Bower, 2.Codie Taylor, 3. Michael Alaalatoa, 4.Scott Barrett, 5.Samuel Whitelock (captain), 6.Ethan Blackadder, 7.Matt Todd, 8.Kieran Read, 9.Bryn Hall, 10.Richie Mo'unga, 11.George Bridge, 12.Ryan Crotty, 13.Jack Goodhue, 14.Sevu Reece, 15.David Havili.

Substitutes: 16.Andrew Makalio, 17.Harry Allan, 18.Oliver Jager, 19.Luke Romano, 20.Jordan Taufua, 21.Mitchell Drummond, 22.Mitchell Hunt, 23.Braydon Ennor.