CRUSADERSThe Crusaders host the Chiefs in the Super Rugby Aotearoa Final in Christchurch on Saturday and the home side are firm favourites to defend the title.





Crusaders v Chiefs, Saturday 8th May, Christchurch, KO 09.05 (South African time)


Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant referees: James Doleman, Paul Williams
TMO: Brendon Pickerill


Weather Forecast – Christchurch




The Crusaders were on a bye last week, resting up in the knowledge they would be hosting the Chiefs in this final. The Saders finished the regular season with a record of 6 wins and 2 defeats, topping the log with 8 points worth of daylight.


After reaching the half way stage of the tournament with a 100% record the Crusaders slipped up twice thereafter. In a Round 6 home fixture against the Highlanders they finished well beaten (33-12) by a side who were much changed on the day after disciplinary issues. In Round 8 they went down 26-25 to the Chiefs in Hamilton with the decisive Chiefs score coming from a late penalty.


Elsewhere the Crusaders visit to the Hurricanes was settled in extra time and it was generally business as usual in their other matches.


Crusaders Aotearoa Fixtures & Results: R1 Highlanders (a) won 26-13, R2 Hurricanes (h) won 33-16, R3 Chiefs (h) won 39-17, R4 Blues (a) won 43-27, R5 bye, R6 Highlanders (h) lost 33-12, R7 Hurricanes (a) won 30-27 (extra time), R8 Chiefs (a) lost 26-25, R9 Blues (h) won 29-6, R10 bye


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The Chiefs were in action last week but with this final in the bag they made wholesale changes for a visit to the Blues which they lost 39-19.


The Chiefs lost their first 2 matches of the tournament including a visit to Christchurch (39-17) but they subsequently reeled off 5 straight wins, many of which were close. Aside from edging the Saders in Hamilton in Round 7 the Chiefs again left it late in a home fixture with the Hurricanes which they won 26-24 after landing a last gasp penalty and a Round 6 a clash with the Highlanders was won by the Chiefs in extra time.


The Chiefs finished level with the Blues on 20 log points but the number of wins (5 to the Blues 4) was the criteria used to determine the final standings.


Chiefs Aotearoa Fixtures & Results: R1 bye, R2 Highlanders (h) lost 39-23, R3 Crusaders (a) lost 39-17, R4 Hurricanes (a) won 35-29, R5 Blues (h) won 15-12 R6 bye, R7 Highlanders (a) won 26-23 (extra time), R8 Crusaders (h) won 26-25, R9 Hurricanes (h) won 26-24, R10 Blues (a) lost 39-19


Team News


Crusaders: 15 Will Jordan, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Leicester Fainga’anuku, 12 David Havili, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Cullen Grace, 8 Cullen Grace, 7 Sione Havili Talitui, 6 Ethan Blackadder, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Scott Barrett (captain), 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 George Bower.

Replacements: 16 Brodie McAlister, 17 Tamaiti Williams, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Mitchell Dunshea, 20 Tom Sanders, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Dallas McLeod, 23 Braydon Ennor


Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Jonah Lowe, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Alex Nankivell, 11 Etene Nanai-Seturo, 10 Bryn Gatland, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Luke Jacobson, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Pita Gus Sowakula, 5 Mitchell Brown, 4 Tupou Vaa’i, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 Aidan Ross

Replacements: 16 Bradley Slater, 17 Oliver Norris, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 20 Zane Kapeli, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Rameka Poihipi, 23 Chase Tiatia


Recent Head to Head (any venue)


2021 SRA Hamilton Chiefs 26-25 Crusaders (Tries 2-3)

2021 SRA Christchurch Crusaders 39-17 Chiefs (Tries 5-2)

2020 SRA Hamilton Chiefs 19–32 Crusaders (Tries 1-5 )

2020 SRA Christchurch Crusaders 18–13 Chiefs (Tries 2-1)

2020 Hamilton Chiefs 25-15 Crusaders (Tries 3-2)

2019 Suva Chiefs 40-27 Crusaders (Tries 6-4)

2019 Christchurch Crusaders 57–28 Chiefs (Tries 9-4)

2018 Hamilton Chiefs 20–34 Crusaders (Tries 3-4 )

2018 Christchurch Crusaders 45–23 Chiefs (Tries 7-2)

2017 Christchurch Crusaders 27–13 Chiefs (Tries 4-1) (semi final)

2017 Suva Chiefs 24-31 Crusaders (Tries 4-3)



The Betting,


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Handicap (80 mins)


Crusaders -9.5 points at 9/10

Chiefs +10.5 points at 9/10


To lift the trophy Crusaders 1 / 4 Chiefs 3/1


Note, odds quoted are available at the time of writing but are subject to change.


Betting Angle


I am not one to be put off largish minus handicaps in finals but in this case I fancy the visitors to run the Crusaders close. The Crusaders will be tough to beat at home but they just haven't been themselves this season and I think a highly motivated Chiefs team can push them all the way. I was tempted by the 9/5 either team wins by 7 or less at Sunbet but will rather just put my head down and fire the handicap. I am going to take slightly shorter than 9/10 to get an extra point so the bet is Chiefs +11.5. 


I will post any points bets in the forum as the lines are not out yet. 


Bet: 5 units Chiefs +11.5 at 17/20 @Betxchange 


Note, odds quoted are available at the time of writing but are subject to change.


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