The Breakdown: Force in a vacuum
Perth's side are the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons, while the Brumbies smell Bulls blood, the Reds tackle the Stormers and the Tahs meet the Rebels.PT0M0S 620 349
Westpac Stadium, Wellington, Saturday 5.35pm (AEST)
Last meeting: Round 18 2011 - Crusaders 16 bt Hurricanes 9 at Westpac Stadium
Head-to-head: Played 20 Hurricanes 4 Crusaders 14 drawn 2
In Wellington: Played 7 Hurricanes 2 Crusaders 4 drawn 1
Referee: Craig Joubert (RSA)
TV: Live, FoxSports 3
TAB Sportsbet: Hurricanes $2.80 Crusaders $1.40
Greg Growden writes: The Crusaders are starting to get it together, excelling against the Stormers last weekend, and they face the Hurricanes who have a few injury concerns. You can never pick how the Hurricanes will play, but the Crusaders at least know how to string wins together.
AAP writes: Coming off the bye, the Hurricanes are looking for their first back-to-back wins at home after accounting for the Sharks. Their task won't be easy against the Crusaders who last round knocked over the previously unbeaten Stormers. The Crusaders' experiment with All Blacks five-eighth Dan Carter playing outside Tom Taylor worked a treat, with the fledgling five-eighth playing with poise. While the Crusaders are expected to structure their attack around their kicking game, they'll need to be accurate with the Hurricanes' counter-attack weapons Andre Taylor, Cory Jane and Julian Savea first-rate. Expect a thriller.
HURRICANES: Andre Taylor, Cory Jane, Conrad Smith (c), Tim Bateman, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara/Chris Eaton, Victor Vito, Karl Lowe, Faifili Levave, Jason Eaton, Jeremy Thrush, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Dane Coles, Ben May. Reserves: Motu Matu’u, Michael Bent, James Broadhurst, Jack Lam/Mark Reddish, Chris Eaton/Frae Wilson, Tusi Pisi, Alapati Leiua.
CRUSADERS: Israel Dagg, Adam Whitelock, Robbie Fruean, Dan Carter, Zac Guildford, Tom Taylor, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read (c), Matt Todd, George Whitelock, Sam Whitelock, Tom Donnelly, Ben Franks, Corey Flynn, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Quentin MacDonald, Owen Franks, Luke Romano, Luke Whitelock, Willie Heinz, Ryan Crotty, Tom Marshall.