Crusaders v Chiefs
Saturday 5:35pm at AMI Stadium
It doesn’t get much bigger than this. The two most successful New Zealand franchises in history meet in a blockbuster semi final on a cold Saturday night in Christchurch. Clear your schedules Rugby fans cause this a game cannot be missed.
The Crusaders have the luxury of naming an unchanged lineup to the side that did the job last week against the Highlanders, which includes 7 All Blacks in the forward pack and 3 more in the backline.
Just two changes to the Chiefs side returning from South Africa. Both additions are sure to get supporters excited with behemoth All Black centre Charlie Ngatai returning at 12 to partner Anton Linert-Brown. The other change sees fleet-footed Samoan international Tim Nanai Williams promoted from the bench to the starting XV.
Last time they met
19/5/2017 – Crusaders 31 – 24 Chiefs
Stat that matters
The Crusaders have never lost a final when playing at home. That’s a remarkable record of 17 from 17.
Ryan Crotty vs Charlie Ngatai – both these men have had disappointing seasons in 2017 due to injury concerns, they will be hoping to put all that behind them when they run out onto AMI stadium. Ngatai is the bigger of the two men but Crotty is not someone who will back down in both attack and defence. The wolf is expecting whoever gets the better of this battle will go a long way to sterring their side into the Super Rugby final.
The Crusaders were able to bounce back from their first loss of the season and grind out a dour win against their South Island rivals last week, with more wet conditions predicted they will be looking to stick to the same gameplan. The Chiefs were impressive in shaking off their jet lag and coming from behind to beat the Stormers in Cape Town, the Chiefs have flown under the radar in recent weeks and the Wolf feels if they can beat the jet lag for the second week in a row the men from Waikato could give this competition a real shake.
How it’s shaping
Both teams have redhot rosters and will be hoping it all falls into place come Saturday evening. The Wolf feels that the Crusaders will have the wood in the forwards but the Chefs have more talent out wide. With a bit of rain predicted and the Chiefs having to fly around the world and back twice in an 8 day period the Wolf feels the Crusaders will sneak home in classic finals arm wrestle.
Crusaders by 6…
Best bet: Crusaders WIN ($1.27)
Value bet: Crusaders 1-12 ($2.75)
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