The New Zealand conference-leading Crusaders take on the Australian conference-leading Waratahs in Week 13s match of the round.
The Ominous Crusade:
Things are looking rosey down in Christchurch as the Crusaders look to ramp up their charge for another Super Rugby title. They found some hot form against the Rebels in Melbourne and will be keen to march on with another commanding performance against the Waratahs at home.
Owen Franks showed exactly why the Crusaders need him fit, healthy and firing. They look like a different beast with him in the engine room as he has that ability to dominate almost any opposition at scrum time. That extra clarity allows this team to flourish.
The Waratahs blew the perfect opportunity for Australian teams to finally get one over their Kiwi counterparts. Losing to the Blues at home was a big dagger to Australian rugby, confirming the gap that still needs to be bridged for this competition to sustain credibility. They have a chance to break that drought against the Crusaders, but it doesn’t look promising.
Israel Folau continues to make headlines for the wrong reasons and that must be a burden to the players around him. The Waratahs have also struggled for consistency. Like many other sides in this competition, they have looked great in patches but have also been fairly average at times. If the Waratahs are going to be any chance on Saturday, they need to click.
Player to watch: Richie Mo’unga
Source: RENZO HD – YouTube
Richie Mo’unga made a timely and successful return to play last week after a broken jaw against the Stormers left his campaign teetering on a knife-edge. He has slowly developed into a classy operator and continues to shine behind a dominant pack. His ability to consistently string together strong performances almost guarantees his position as Beauden Barrett’s deputy for the three-match tour against France, in June. If he can rock that role and stay injury free, the Crusaders have an exciting play-maker that could help them reach new heights. A scary thought indeed.
Source: All Blacks – YouTube
The Waratahs fly to Christchurch with the hope of upsetting New Zealand’s top-ranked side, while at the same time ending Australia’s ghastly run against New Zealand opposition. Goodluck I’d say.
Crusaders by 20.
Author: Simon van Ryn
I am a sports mad fanatic who loves watching drama filled code. Growing up in Wellington I have been fortunate enough to witness some great sporting moments at the Cake Tin – non more satisfying than seeing my beloved Hurricanes finally lift that trophy after 21 years of hurt.