PREVIEW: Blues v Crusaders
Thursday, May 26, 2016 allblacks.com Getty Images
TALE OF THE TAPE
The Blues position at the bottom of the New Zealand conference is deceptive. The Auckland-based side has picked up six wins and a draw this season to sit on 29 points – a tally that would see them near the top of the other three conferences. They have also won four out of their last five matches to keep their slim play-off hopes alive and will have nothing to lose against a Crusaders side which has only dropped two matches this year.
STEEPED IN HISTORY
After eight powerful performances from the bench, Northland’s Kara Pryor gets a chance to start in the seven jersey with an injury to Taneru Latimer. Pryor has inserted plenty of energy for the Blues this season and provided the only highlight in their 50 point loss to the Lions when he charged 50 metres for a brilliant solo try. He won’t have it easy with the dynamic Matt Todd opposing him at openside flanker for the Crusaders.
The Crusaders attacking stocks are bolstered by the return of Nemani Nadolo following a four week suspension for a dangerous tackle. The explosive 130kg wing was the Crusaders most potent offensive weapon until his suspension with four tries, 18 clean breaks and 17 off loads underscoring his danger.
With the Blues play-off hopes on the line and another chapter to be written into the storied history between these two sides, a bumped crowd is sure to pack out Eden Park. Get your TICKETS HERE to experience the excitement live!
Blues: 15: Melani Nanai 14: Matt Duffie 13: George Moala/Male Sa’u 12: Piers Francis 11: Tevita Li 10: Ihaia West 9: Billy Guyton 8: Steven Luatua 7: Kara Pryor 6: Jerome Kaino 5: Josh Bekhuis 4: Patrick Tuipulotu 3: Charlie Faumuina 2: James Parsons (C) 1: Sam Prattley
Reserves: Quentin MacDonald, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Sione Mafileo, Hoani Matenga, Jack Ram, Bryn Hall, Male Sa’u/Michael Little, Lolagi Visinia
Crusaders: 15: Israel Dagg 14: Johnny McNichol 13: Kieron Fonotia 12: Ryan Crotty 11: Nemani Nadolo 10: Richie Mo’unga 9: Mitchell Drummond 8: Kieran Read (C) 7: Matt Todd 6: Jordan Taufua 5: Scott Barrett 4: Luke Romano 3: Owen Franks 2: Codie Taylor 1: Joe Moody
Reserves : 16: Ged Robinson 17: Wyatt Crockett 18: Mike Alaalatoa 19: Jimmy Tupou 20: Tim Boys 21: Andy Ellis 22: David Havili 23: Marty McKenzie
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