Lions v Crusaders Super Rugby preview

The Crusaders have won their last three Super Rugby matches against the Lions and have not lost to them since 2007.

In 2007 the Lions beat the Crusaders 9-3 and that was the fifth lowest aggregate score ever in Super Rugby.

The only matches where fewer points were scored, were in Dunedin in 2009 when the Highlanders beat the Crusaders 6-0, in Brisbane in 2007 (Brumbies 6 Reds 3), Durban in 2004 (Reds 6 Sharks 5) and Brisbane in 1999 (Reds 11 Hurricanes 0).

The Lions have been hit so hard by a spate of injuries that coach John Mitchell has been forced to delay naming of his team until Friday.

In contrast the Crusaders have named a near full strength team which even includes Dan Carter starting at 10 for the first time this year.

Last year the Lions and the Crusaders missed out on playing each other due to the expanded Super Rugby draw. The most recent match then was back in 2010 and the Crusaders last played in Johannesburg in 2009.

The Lions and the Crusaders have played each other thirteen times and the Lions have won just three matches and lost ten.

In Johannesburg the Lions and Crusaders have played each other six times and the Lions have won twice. Surprisingly the average scores for the two teams in Johannesburg is 29 points each.

For the record when the two teams play across all venues the average is Lions 27 Crusaders 38.

In the Crusaders last visit to Johannesburg the Crusaders won 20-32 in a game that produced seven tries, four of them to the visitors.

The Crusaders will be looking to push their winning record in South Africa into positive territory. They have won 19 out of their 38 games over here, or a nice round 50%. That is also the best winning percentage of all overseas teams in the South Africa.

The Bookies have given the Lions an 8 point start for this match – with an offer of Bet 5 and Get 50 in Bets. The Crusaders might have been shaky last week but they should be more settled this weekend against an injury hit Lions team. The Crusaders should win by 11 points.

This match will be shown on TV in NZ, Aus, SA and in the UK on the Sky Sports website.

Average score: Lions 27 Crusaders 38

Last five results
20 Mar 2010 Lions v Crusaders 19-46 Christchurch
01 May 2009 Lions v Crusaders 20-32 Johannesburg
12 Apr 2008 Lions v Crusaders 6-31 Christchurch
17 Feb 2007 Lions v Crusaders 9-3 Johannesburg
17 Mar 2006 Lions v Crusaders 15-43 Christchurch

Lions overall record against the Crusaders
Played 13, Wins 3, Losses 10 , Draws 0

Match No.40 :Lions v Crusaders
Date: Saturday 31 March
Venue : Johannesburg
Kick Off local: 17:05
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)
Assistant Ref 1:Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant Ref 2:Reuben Roussouw (South Africa)
TMO : Shaun Veldsmen (South Africa)



To follow.


1. Wyatt Crockett, 2. Corey Flynn, 3. Owen Franks, 4. Luke Romano, 5. Samuel Whitelock, 6. George Whitelock, 7. Matt Todd, 8. Kieran Read, 9. Andy Ellis, , 10. Daniel Carter,11. Zac Guildford, 12. Tom Taylor, 13. Robbie Fruean, 14. Sean Maitland, 15. Israel Dagg

Reserves: 16. Quentin MacDonald , 17. Ben Franks, 18. Tom Donnelly, 19. Luke Whitelock , 20. Willi Heinz , 21. Ryan Crotty22. Tom Marshall

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