The Crusaders and the Hurricanes will meet in a New Zealand derby in the first 2018 Super Rugby semifinal, set for the AMI Stadium in Christchurch on Saturday, July 28, kick-off at 09h35 CAT.
The Crusaders showed their power last weekend with an emphatic 40-10 quarterfinal win over the Sharks at the AMI. Bryan Hall, David Havili, Matt Todd, Braydon Ennor and Peter Samu all scored tries, while Richie Mo’unga kicked 15 points.
It continued a superb season for the Christchurch team, who have looked strong favourites to defend their title all year. Scott Robertson’s charges are looking to win a record-extending ninth Super Rugby championship.
The Hurricanes advanced into the semis with a narrow 32-31 win over the Chiefs at Westpac Stadium last Friday. Julian Savea, TJ Perenara (two) and Ben Lam scored tries, while Beauden Barrett and Jordie Barrett kicked 12 points.
The Wellington-based side is looking to go one step further than last season when they were beaten 44-29 by the Lions in the semifinals. Chris Boyd’s side is looking to reach a third final in the last four seasons and add a second title to their 2016 triumph.
The ‘Saders are sweating on the fitness of Seta Tamanivalu and Ardie Savea, while Joe Moody may well return from injury. They are looking to win a 20th successive home knockout game in Super Rugby, and captain Sam Whitelock will be their key figure.
The ‘Canes will look to Beauden Barrett to spark their potent backline as they look for a first away win over the Christchurch team since July 2016.
In head-to-head terms, the Crusaders and Hurricanes have met in 28 Super Rugby matches down the years, with the Christchurch team claiming 16 wins compared to nine for their Wellington counterparts.
The teams’ two league meetings this year have resulted in home victories: the Hurricanes won 29-19 at the Westpac Stadium in early March (one of only two defeats for the Crusaders all season), while the return game at the AMI Stadium in late May saw the hosts claim revenge with a 24-13 victory.
Crusaders v Hurricanes – head-to-head
Matches played 28
Crusaders wins 16
Hurricanes wins 9
Crusaders points 750
Hurricanes points 548
Teams for the weekend
15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody
Substitutes: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Braydon Ennor
15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Jordie Barrett, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Gareth Evans, 6 Brad Shields (captain), 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Michael Fatialofa, 3 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith
Substitutes: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Ardie Savea/Reed Prinsep, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Wes Goosen