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Super Rugby Preview: Crusaders v Rebels

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Thursday, June 6, 2019    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Match Details: Crusaders v Rebels, Christchurch Stadium, 7.35pm, June 8, 2019

Played: 7
Won: Crusaders 5, Rebels 2
Last time: Crusaders 55-10 Rebels, Melbourne, May 4, 2018
Referee: Glen Jackson

FORM

The Crusaders have been the form side of the competition although they have only won two of their last five games, two games also being drawn. They have had wins over: the Blues 24-22a and 45-13, the Hurricanes 38-22 and 32-8a, the Chiefs 57-28, the Highlanders 43-17, the Reds 22-12a, the Brumbers 36-14, the Lions 36-10 and the Bulls 45-13. They shared points with the Highlanders for their abandoned game and drew also with the Sharks 21-21 and the Stormers 19-19. Losses have been to the Waratahs 12-20a and the Chiefs 27-40a. The Rebels made a strong start with wins over the Brumbies 34-27a, the Highlanders 24-19, the Brumbies 29-26, but then lost both games on their South African tour to the Lions 33-36 and the Sharks 14-26. They then beat the Reds 32-13a and the Sunwolves 42-15. They lost to the Stormers 24-41, the Waratahs 20-23a and the Hurricanes 19-29a. They beat the Reds a second time 30-24 before losing to the Bulls 17-32. They beat the Sunwolves 52-7a and lost last week to the Waratahs 15-20.
MILESTONE FOR CROTTY

Second five-eighths Ryan Crotty's service to the Crusaders will be honoured as he makes his 150th appearance for the side. Two changes have been made to the side with flanker Matt Todd returning while Bryn Hall will mark his 50th appearance for the side with Eretara Enari covering him from the bench. Prop Tim Perry has been named on the bench marking a return after his first round broken arm. It has been a big week for the Crusaders who held their annual awards night on Tuesday with lock Scott Barrett being named player of the year. Wing Sevu Reece was the rookie of the year while first five-eighths Richie Mo'unga was named Champion Crusader by his teammates and also took out the people's choice award.

PRESSURE ON REBELS

The Rebels will be without Test halfback Will Genia who will complete his second Wallabies stand down requirement but coach Dave Wessels denied it was because the side wanted to throw everything at the Waratahs next week. "We don't have the luxury with where we're at, to be taking things easy or anything like that. We've got to fight for every opportunity and this is an opportunity, another opportunity," Wessels said. He added the Rebels were feeling they were not really in form at the moment but were trying to play better while attending to problem areas during game time. Also missing from the starting XV is first five-eighths Quade Cooper. He had played every game to date and Matt To'omua was looking forward to the chance of taking on the role.

THE SCOOP

Crusaders wing Sevu Reece heads the competition for most clean breaks this season with 27.

FAST FACT

The Rebels have stolen 20 lineouts against the throw this year, the most of any team in the competition and seven more than the Crusaders have achieved.

TEAMS:

Crusaders: 1.Joe Moody, 2.Andrew Makalio, 3.Michael Alaalato, 4.Scott Barrett, 5.Sam Whitelock (captain), 6.Whetukamokamo Douglas, 7.Matt Todd, 8.Kieran Read, 9.Bryn Hall, 10.Richie Mo'unga, 11.Braydon Ennor, 12.Ryan Crotty, 13.Jack Goodhue, 14.Sevu Reece, 15.David Havili.

Substitutes: 16.Ben Funnell, 17.Tim Perry, 18.George Bower, 19.Luke Romano, 20.Jordan Taufua, 21.Ere Enari, 22.Brett Cameron, 23.Ngane Punivai.

Rebels: 1.Tetera Faulkner, 2.Jordan Uelese, 3.Sam Talakai, 4.Matt Philip, 5.Adam Coleman, 6.Angus Cottrell, 7.Richard Hardwick, 8.Isi Naisarani, 9.Michael Ruru, 10.Matt Toomua, 11.Tom English, 12.Billy Meakes, 13.Reece Hodge, 14.Jack Maddocks, 15.Dane Haylett-Petty (captain).

Substitutes: 16.Anaru Rangi, 17.Matt Gibbon, 18.Jermaine Ainsley, 19.Luke Jones, 20.Ross Haylett-Petty, 21.Harrison Goddard, 22.Quade Cooper, 23.Marika Koroibete.