Kirwan: ‘Saders clash a Test
Auckland – As the Super Rugby competition heads into its’ business end, local derbies take on an even more significant role as teams try to move to the top of their respective conferences.
With only six log points separating the top three in the New Zealand conference, the match between the Crusaders and Blues in Christchurch will determine who will be best placed to challenge the Chiefs for top spot in the final weeks.New Zealand Herald’s website
is reporting that Blues coach, John Kirwan, will be treating the match with the full-blooded intensity of a Test match.
His team will be up against it as the Blues have not walked away victorious in Super Rugby action in Christchurch for nine years.
"For me it is a Test match and that's the way it should be. We are underdogs going down there with everything against you," Kirwan said.
The Blues reigned supreme in their reverse encounter in March, but come Saturday, Kirwan believes it won’t give his team any sort of advantage.
"It does not get bigger than this, it is the oldest rivalry in the game and I love it," he said.
The Crusaders will be welcoming captain, Kieran Reid back into the fold, while the Blues can once again call upon the calm, experienced head of hooker, Keven Mealamu.
Kick-off in this crunch Super Rugby encounter is at 09:35 (CAT).Teams:Crusaders:
15 Tom Taylor, 14 Tom Marshall, 13 Robbie Fruean, Ryan Crotty, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett
Substitutes: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Dominic Bird, 19 Willi Heinz, 20 Adam Whitelock, 21 Israel DaggBlues:
15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 George Moala, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Ali Williams (captain), 4 Culum Retallick, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tim Perry
Substitutes: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Anthony Boric, 19 Brendon O'Connor, 20 Jamison Gibson-Park, 21 Baden Kerr, 22 Francis Saili