Crusaders vs Stormers 2017
The Crusaders and Stormers will meet remarkably for the first time in three years this Saturday at AMI Stadium in Christchurch.
Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock (c), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody
Nation/Competition: New Zealand, Super 15 Rugby
Date: 2017-04-22 08:35:00
Home team: Crusaders
Away team: Stormers
Stormers: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Eben Etzebeth (c), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg
A one-point win for the Crusaders at the same venue three years ago proved to be a nervous contest, with both sides much-changed today since 2014, an example of the ever-changing playing personnel in Super Rugby.
Both sides have also started 2017 full of purpose, with the Crusaders yet to be defeated and the Stormers only tasting defeat for the first time back at Newlands last weekend when they fell to the Lions.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of that unbeaten run for the Crusaders is that they pulled off the wins without the influence of Richie Mo’unga at fly-half and Kieran Read at number eight.
In their places, Marty McKenzie and Whetu Douglas were both outstanding, highlighting the depth that first-year head coach Scott Robertson has at his disposal.
Israel Dagg is still absent and Nemani Nadolo gone, yet young guns like Jack Goodhue and George Bridge have shone in the backs, with Seta Tamanivalu being an inspired bit of business from the Chiefs.
The Stormers know a thing or two about injuries, especially in midfield with no Juan de Jongh, Damian de Allende or Huw Jones, which is why the performances of the young centre pairing of Daniel du Plessis and EW Viljoen will have pleased Robbie Fleck so much.
Suggestions that the Stormers’ wide game-plan would be reeled in for the big matches were proven to be false with that magnificent win over the Kings – which is why falling to the Lions will have irritated the Stormers squad plenty in the build-up to Saturday.
Firing in the second row and back row especially, with Dewaldt Duvenage or Jano Vermaak directing traffic well at scrum-half, this is a squad with a fine pedigree. How a win in Christchurch would inspire confidence again.