The Hurricanes versus Crusaders has become the new greatest derby in rugby union. The talent on display tonight is simply mouth watering.

The Crusaders are an unbeaten 10 from 10 and the Hurricanes 8 from 9. This game is crucial, each coach wants their team to hold their destiny in their own hands. The winner tonight will still have that privilege.

Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung / www.photosport.nz
Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung / www.photosport.nz

There are so many intriguing subplots too. The British and Irish Lions are on the horizon and All Black selection is coming. The number 7 battle, the ever efficient and effective Matt Todd versus the boisterous and outrageous Ardie Savea, is worth the entry fee alone. Throw on top the fact that Kieran Read is in recovery and Brad Shields is on a hot run of form. Shields has to be nearing a return to the All Blacks. Then there is Dane Coles’ continued absence. Codie Taylor must be next in line but his opposite tonight, Ricky Riccitelli, is having a fantastic season. Then we have three Barretts on display, all three are on the All Black radar.

© Christiaan Kotze/SASPA
© Christiaan Kotze/SASPA

Six tries a game

Both teams are averaging an insane 6 or more tries a game, what an incredible statistic. They have played 28 times and the Crusaders have lost only 9 of these. However, the balance is swaying in recent years. The Hurricanes have won 6 of the last 10 meetings.

Taking all the statistics into account, rugbynumbers.com is giving the Crusaders a 58% chance of winning.

John Davidson / www.photosport.nz
John Davidson / www.photosport.nz

Scott Robertson is building a new machine, using the most impressive forward pack in world rugby as the platform. This season they have debuted at least 15 new Crusaders. Robertson has instilled a sense of belief within his players and confidence is on a high.

Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung / www.photosport.nz
Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung / www.photosport.nz

The Hurricanes, on the other hand, are a few years ahead in their development as a team. Chris Boyd is perfecting his machine and they are a fluid attacking force at present.

Whatever the result, we are in for a treat tonight.

 

Author: Gareth Dinneen

Gareth is from Limerick, Ireland and has been obsessed with the All Blacks and NZ culture since 1989. He first arrived in NZ in 2001 to tutor in New Media and has since worked with Weta Digital on movies like Avatar, King Kong, The Avengers and most recently Valerian. Gareth grew up listening to his father Len on sports radio. Len is known as ‘The Voice of Rugby’ in Munster, Ireland. The 1014 brings Gareth right back to his sports media roots.

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