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Crusaders v Blues

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The Breakdown: It's all up in the air

With rule changes and local derby standings boiling away, Wellington readies for a mammoth Brumbies v Hurricanes match-up.

PT0M0S 620 349

Christchurch Stadium, Saturday 5.35pm (AEST)
Last meeting:
Round 1, February 24, 2012 - Crusaders 19 bt Blues 18 at Eden Park, Auckland
Head-to-head:
Played 20, Crusaders 11, Blues 9
In Christchurch:
Played 8, Crusaders 5, Blues 3
Referee:
Bryce Lawrence (NZL)
TV:
Live, FoxSports 3
TAB Sportsbet:
Crusaders $1.20 Blues $4.20

Greg Growden writes: Not surprisingly Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder was stroppy after losing to the Rebels, and has responded with countless changes, the most important being Daniel Carter moving to No 10. That should be enough to get back on track.

AAP writes: The Crusaders looked like they'd lost their mojo and their attack was impotent in their shock loss to the Rebels. They need their star-studded backline to fire, having only chalked up 23 tries this season compared to 40 at the same time in 2011. Expect the Crusaders to go all out, aiming for a bonus-point win to keep clear of the Highlanders. The Blues lifted themselves off the bottom of the ladder with their second win of the season, against the lowly Lions. But with Dan Carter back at No.10 for an injured Tom Taylor, the home side should have too much class.

CRUSADERS: Israel Dagg, Adam Whitelock, Robbie Fruean, Ryan Crotty, Zac Guildford, Dan Carter, Andy Ellis, Richie McCaw (c), Matt Todd, George Whitelock, Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Corey Flynn, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Quentin MacDonald, Ben Franks, Tom Donnelly, Brendon O'Connor, Willi Heinz, Tyler Bleyendaal, Tom Marshall.

BLUES: Hadleigh Parkes, David Raikuna, Ma'a Nonu, Michael Hobbs, Benson Stanley, Gareth Anscombe, Piri Weepu, Luke Braid (c), Daniel Braid, Steven Luatua, Ali Williams, Liaki Moli, Tevita Mailau, Tom McCartney, Tony Woodcock. Reserves: James Parsons, Angus Ta'avao, Filo Paulo, Peter Saili, Alby Mathewson, Lachie Munro, Sherwin Stowers.

Related Coverage

The Breakdown: It's all up in the air (Thumbnail) The Breakdown: It's all up in the air

With rule changes and local derby standings boiling away, Wellington readies for a mammoth Brumbies v Hurricanes match-up.

Expert tips

Fairfax's panel of experts's tips for round 18.

Reds v Lions

Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Saturday 7.40pm (AEST)

Cheetahs v Sharks

Free State Rugby Stadium, Bloemfontein, Sunday 1.05am (AEST)

Stormers v Waratahs

Newlands Stadium, Cape Town, Sunday 3.10am (AEST)

Western Force v Rebels

nib Stadium, Perth, Sunday 4.35pm (AEST)

Hurricanes v Brumbies

Westpac Stadium, Wellington, Friday 5.35pm (AEST)

Highlanders v Bulls

Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, Saturday 3.30pm (AEST)

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