Super Rugby: Crusaders chasing their first road win against Hurricanes since 2012
Source: https://www.stuff.co.nz/news/111622497/-

2019-03-28 17:37:25

Scott Barrett doesn't have the answer to the Crusaders' struggles in Wellington.

The lock said so himself when asked what makes the Hurricanes such a tricky customer in the capital, where they have not lost to the Crusaders since 2012. They have won 25 of their last 26 home fixtures.

Put it this way, half of Crusaders coach Scott Robertson's four Super Rugby defeats since taking over the red and blacks in 2017 went down at Westpac Stadium. His overall record is 38-1-4 leading into Friday night's clash against the Hurricanes in Wellington

The five-match losing streak at the Cake Tin dates back to roughly the halfway stage of the Todd Blackadder coaching era, while the two matches there under Robertson were 29-19 (2018) and 31-22 (2017) defeats.

"The 'Canes-Crusaders rivalry is what Super Rugby needs, and NZ Rugby needs," Robertson said. "There is always anticipation around it from the players and the public, they are pretty brutal and results have gone both ways.

"It's a great date on the calendar and something we look forward to. Westpac Stadium has been great to them over the last few years."

Including No 8 Kieran Read, eight members of this year's squad were members of the Crusaders in 2012 when they rolled the Hurricanes 42-14 at the Cake Tin.

Ryan Crotty, Sam Whitelock, Matt Todd, Luke Romano, Israel Dagg, Owen Franks and Ben Funnell were also still around when pivot Tom Taylor kicked 17 points in the rout.

The Crusaders have named a near full-strength side for their second clash with the Hurricanes this year. All Blacks props Joe Moody (ankle) and Owen Franks (shoulder) are the notable absentees.

Franks, who was scratched on the eve of last week's 20-12 defeat to the Waratahs in Sydney after tweaking his shoulder during a lineout drill, was initially listed to play this week.

However, shortly before the team was made public on Wednesday afternoon, the Crusaders alerted media he had again been ruled out.

The loss of Franks might well have increased the anxiety levels among Crusaders fans, who were last weekend subjected to comfortably the worst performance by the reigning champions since Robertson took over.

In their first game since the Christchurch terrorist attack, they made a plethora of mistakes in soggy conditions at the Sydney Cricket ground.

If wing George Bridge wasn't spilling the ball with nothing but open pasture in front of him, fellow wing Braydon Ennor was flinging a pass into touch.

Smarting after their 20-match unbeaten run was buried, don't expect the Crusaders to go into their shells.

"You don't go unbeaten for a year and change everything. You have just got to nail a couple of key things and make sure you have the confidence moving forward," Robertson said.

AT A GLANCE

Crusaders v Hurricanes

Friday, 7.35pm, Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Referee: Ben O'Keeffe

TAB odds: Crusaders $1.64 Hurricanes $2.21

Crusaders: David Havili, Braydon Ennor, Jack Goodhue, Ryan Crotty, George Bridge, Richie Mo'unga, Bryn Hall, Kieran Read, Matt Todd, Whetukamokamo Douglas,. Samuel Whitelock (captain), Scott Barrett, Michael Alaalatoa, Codie Taylor, Harry Allan. Reserves: Andrew Makalio, George Bower, Oli Jager, Quinten Strange, Jordan Taufua, Mitchell Drummond, Brett Cameron, Will Jordan.

Hurricanes: Chase Tiatia, Jordie Barrett, Matt Proctor, Ngani Laumape, Ben Lam, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara (captain), Reed Prinsep, Ardie Savea, Vaea Fifita, Liam Mitchell, James Blackwell, Ben May, Ricky Riccitelli, Fraser Armstrong. Reserves: Asafo Aumua, Chris Eves, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Du'Plessis Kirifi, Richard Judd, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Wes Goosen.

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