Preview: Chiefs vs Crusaders

Preview: Chiefs vs Crusaders

The Chiefs are on an eight-game winning streak, currently unbeaten in Super Rugby Pacific ’23, and when they played Crusaders in Christchurch at the start of the season they lost. For many in the Crusaders camp, this is a must-win.

 The Chiefs are fielding eight capped All Blacks for the fixture, while the Crusaders are fielding 10.

The last time they met

The last time Crusaders faced the Chiefs was in Round 1 of the ’23 competition, losing at home 31-10. As Crusaders Head Coach Scott Robertson said at the time it was a game of “small margins” where the Chiefs capitalised on mistakes.  

More recently, Crusaders Assistant Coach and recently appointed future All Blacks Assistant Coach Scott Hansen said the Chiefs were “the best side in the competition right now”.

Team News


The big return at Crusaders has got to be Oli Jager, sidelined since late in the ’22 NPC season with injury. His rehab was ahead of schedule and he’s back in time to make an impact off the bench.  

Leicester Fainga’anuku is back after a few rounds sidelined with some calf niggles. He dons the 11 jersey, expect speed and finesse on the wing. 

Dallas McLeod earnt his selection at 14 after a great season so far, straightening the attack and regularly breaking defensive lines. 

It’s also Sam Whitelock’s 350th First Class game and Quinten Strange’s 50th in a Crusaders jersey

15 Fergus Burke, 14 Dallas McLeod, 13 Braydon Ennor, 12 David Havili, 11 Leicester Fainga’anuku, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Cullen Grace, 7 Tom Christie, 6 Dom Gardiner, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Scott Barrett (c), 3 Tamaiti Williams, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Brodie McAlister, 17 Finlay Brewis, 18 Oli Jager, 19 Quinten Strange, 20 Christian Lio-Willie, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Jack Goodhue, 23 Macca Springer

Eight All Blacks have been named in the Gallagher Chiefs match-day 23 to face rivals the Crusaders for the second time this season

Four All Blacks are named in the forwards pack with Aidan Ross returning to the front row alongside Samisoni Taukei'aho and George Dyer. The towering test-experienced locking duo of Brodie Retallick and Tupou Vaa'i will start with support from Naitoa Ah Kuoi off the bench.

Samipeni Finau commands his spot alongside Sam Cane and Luke Jacobson in the loose forwards. Brad Weber will start at halfback this week with the promising Cortez Ratima as support.

Damian McKenzie and Shaun Stevenson return to their roles at first-five and fullback respectively which sees Emoni Narawa and Etene Nanai-Seturo back on the wing.

1. Aidan Ross – Bay of Plenty (67)
2. Samisoni Taukei'aho – Fahefa, ‘Ofu Vava’u (Tonga) (71)
3. George Dyer – Waikato (14)
4. Brodie Retallick – Hawkes Bay (122)
5. Tupou Vaa'i – Petani Eua (Tonga) (37)
6. Samipeni Finau - Fatumu (Tonga) (25)
7. Sam Cane – Bay of Plenty (143, Co-Captain)
8. Luke Jacobson – Waikato (55)
9. Brad Weber – Ngāti Porou (116, Co-Captain)
10. Damian McKenzie – Ngāti Tūwharetoa (103)
11. Etene Nanai-Seturo – Faleatai and Salelologa Savaii (Samoa) (36)
12. Rameka Poihipi – Te Arawa (22)
13. Daniel Rona – Te Āti Awa (5)
14. Emoni Narawa – Navulivatu, Serua (Fiji) (36)
15. Shaun Stevenson – Ngāpuhi, Solaua (Upolu) and Palauli (Savai’i) Samoa (75)

16. Tyrone Thompson – Ngāi Tāmanuhiri/Ngāti Rangiwewehi (9)
17. Ollie Norris – Ngāpuhi (36)
18. John Ryan – Ireland (8)
19. Naitoa Ah Kuoi – Vaiusu Aleisa (Samoa) (40)
20. Pita Gus Sowakula – Nasolea/ Bucalevu, Cakaudrove (Fiji) (61)
21. Cortez Ratima – Ngāti Maniapoto (17)
22. Bryn Gatland – North Harbour (29)
23. Lalomilo Lalomilo – Falefa Sinamoga (debut)


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