Crusaders match preview

Crusaders match preview

The Crusaders are back in Melbourne for Round 9 of Super Rugby Pacific ’23. It’s the Rebels at AAMI Park and our last trip over the ditch save a potential finals match-up. 

We’re coming off the back of a bye week that marked a halfway point for the season – a chance to reflect on successes and lessons learned. James Marshall, Crusaders Assistant Coach, said it was “nice having a week to step away” from the “washing machine” of week-on-week competition.


“We looked at a lot of the stats, how we’re tracking, and things we can do better going into what is an important time of the year,” Marshall said. 

“We haven’t really hit our straps yet and had a few messy games. There are different reasons for that, obviously injuries were part of that, and we never really got to play the same team back to back making for a lot of new combinations. 

“A lot of guys have had a taste of game time and been given a chance to prove themselves, so now it’s going to be more of a selection headache more than anything else, where we’ve got to make a decision about who’s performed the best and who’s the best fit for each game.” 

Heading into an away contest on a big stage, and one week out from facing table-leaders the Chiefs, there’s never an easy game. The Rebels are fielding six capped Wallabies and two others with international test experience. 

Their No. 10 Carter Gordon is fresh from a Wallabies camp hoping to get a seat on the team bus at the Rugby World Cup in France.  


Big news for the boys in red and black this week – the return of some key players from injury and rest periods.  

Sam Whitelock pulls on the No. 5 jersey again after being out with a hand injury since Round 3. 

Cullen Grace returns to the team after being out with injury since Round 1 

Scott Barrett takes the captaincy again after a period on the sideline to comply with All Blacks rest protocols. 

David Havili takes a spot in the starting XV for the first time since he injured his shoulder against the Fijian Drua in Round 3. 

Jack Goodhue left the field against Moana Pasifika in Round 7 after a head knock, but is back to full strength and ready to make an impact off the bench. 


We faced the Rebels in Round 10 of the ’22 competition. It was AAMI Park, it was April, we were 4th on the table, the Rebels 9th. (Current ’23 standings are Crusaders 4th, Rebels 10th) 

The Crusaders scored six tries to the Rebels’ two, all converted to bring up a final score of 42-17.  



Reece Hodge, the 63-cap Wallaby, comes up against Braydon Ennor in the centre. Hodge is one of two Rebels’ players who played the ‘19 Rugby World Cup, while Ennor will be eyeing up selection for the ’23 edition.  

Similarly in fullback, Fergus Burke comes up against Andrew Kellaway who’s racked up 21 caps in the green and gold. 

Macca Springer puts on the 11 jersey ready to face off against Monty Ioane, nephew of former-Crusader and Wallaby Digby Ioane. The 28-year-old Aussie cut his teeth in the European leagues, eventually playing 17 international caps for Italy. 


Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne 

Time: Friday 21 April, 9.35pm (NZT) 

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