Crusaders v Rebels Super Rugby Preview

Seven time Super Rugby champions the Crusaders will kick off the 2015 Super Rugby and the last year in the current 15 team format when they host the Rebels on Friday in Christchurch.

The Rebels had a strong pre-season with victories over the Reds and the Highlanders while the Crusaders had three losses – Reds, Hurricanes and Highlanders.

It is well known that the Crusaders start slowly in Super Rugby and this is usually not helped by having a number of All Blacks on forced rest periods at the start of the season. With 2015 being a Rugby World Cup year all of the key All Blacks will be rested at different times which gives the coach some flexibility.

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder has been able start Richie McCaw and Dan Carter who haven’t played in the season opening match for years but he is hoping that his big guns can give the team an early boost and for them to win their first match of the year.

The Rebels have recruited well in the off-season with the likes of Mike Harris and Dom Shipperly joining from the Reds. However after four years in Super Rugby the Rebels have yet to win off Australian soil.

The Crusaders have played the Rebels three times in Super Rugby and the Crusaders have won just two of those matches. The first clash between the two sides was in Melbourne and the Rebels beat the Crusaders 19-28.

Overall the Crusaders have a record of winning 66% of their matches against the Rebels with an average score of Crusaders 25 Rebels 24.

The teams have only met once before in Christchurch and that match was won 30-26 by the Crusaders so the Rebels lost but earned a losing bonus point from the match. Looking at the benches where matches are often won in modern rugby the Crusaders have a couple of All Blacks while in comparison the Rebels have a couple of players who will be making their debuts.

The last two matches have both been won by the Crusaders and both were with a six point margin.

The Bookies have given the Rebels a 14 point start for this Match – with an offer of a FREE $150 BET. The Rebels will go into the match full of confidence but one has to think that the experience and talent in the Crusaders team will see them win this one. We think the bookies have gone a little strong on their prediction and we think the Crusaders should win by 7.

This Super Rugby match will be shown live on TV in NZ, Aus, SA and in the UK on Sky Sports 1/HD.

Average score: Crusaders 25 Rebels 24

Last three results
14 Mar 2014 Crusaders v Rebels 25-19 Melbourne
28 Apr 2013 Crusaders v Rebels 30-26 Christchurch
12 May 2012 Crusaders v Rebels 19-28 Melbourne

Crusaders overall record against the Rebels
Played 3 , Wins 2, Losses 1, Draws 0

Match No.1: Crusaders v Rebels
Date : Friday 13 February 2015
Venue : AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Kick Off local: 19:35 local, 17:35 AEDT, 08:35 SAST
Referee: Nick Briant
Assistant Ref 1:Shane McDermott
Assistant Ref 2:Brendon Pickerill
TMO : Aaron Paterson

Teams

Crusaders

1 Joe Moody, 2 Ben Funnell, 3 Owen Franks, 4 Luke Romano, 5 Dominic Bird, 6 Richie McCaw, 7 Matt Todd (c), 8 Luke Whitelock, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 10 Daniel Carter, 11 Johnny McNicholl, 12 Tom Taylor, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 14 Robbie Fruean, 15 Colin Slade

Replacements : 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Wyatt Crockett, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Ryan Crotty, 23 Nathaniel Apa.

Rebels

1. Toby Smith ,2. Pat Leafa,3. Laurie Weeks ,4. Luke Jones,5. Lopeti Timani ,6. Sean McMahon ,7. Colby Fainga’a ,8. Scott Higginbotham ,9. Nic Stirzaker,10. Jack Debreczeni ,11. Tom English ,12. Mitch Inman ,13. Tamati Ellison ,14. Dom Shipperley *,15. Mike Harris *

Replacements : 16. Ben Whittaker *,17. Cruze Ah-Nau ,18. Paul Alo-Emile ,19. Sam Jeffries ,20. Scott Fuglistaller ,21. Luke Burgess ,22. Bryce Hegarty ,23. Sefanaia Naivalu **

* Denotes Rebels debut,
** Denotes Super Rugby debut

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