Crusaders v Reds

Brumbies v Cheetahs

AMI Stadium, Christchurch, Saturday 5.35pm (AEST)Last meeting: Round 11 2012 – Crusaders 15 bt Reds 11 in ChristchurchHead-to-head: Played 19. Crusaders 13, Reds 6In Christchurch: Played 8. Crusaders 7, Reds 1Referee:  Jaco Peyper (RSA)TV: Live, FoxSports 2TAB: Crusaders $1.18, Reds $4.50

Steve Samuelson writes: The Queensland Reds have beaten all four New Zealand teams this year and can make it five with victory over the Crusaders. Under Ewen McKenzie’s reign the Reds hold a 3-1 record over the Crusaders. ‘King’ Richie McCaw plays his first game of the season for the Crusaders.

AAP writes: The Reds have rolled back big guns James Horwill and Will Genia as they attempt a first-ever finals success away from home and a rare win in Christchurch. The Wallabies leaders are among five changes to the starting team which scored a scrappy 14-12 win over NSW last weekend. Genia will direct a reshuffled backline with injuries striking down Rod Davies, Mike Harris and Anthony Faingaa, while Luke Morahan has been dumped in favour of the bustling Chris Feauai-Sautia.

The Crusaders have gained their own boost with All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw to make his return from the bench. Lock Luke Romano (ankle) and centre Tom Taylor (head knock) have overcome their own concerns to start. The Crusaders are the form team in the competition with five straight wins, boast a 15-1 record at the new AMI Stadium in the past two seasons and haven’t lost to Queensland in Christchurch since 1999. But the underdogs are confident they can repeat their 2011 final heroics in what shapes as a Test-like battle. Most heat will be on their scrum to dig in against the home side’s menacing pack.

CRUSADERS: Israel Dagg, Tom Marshall, Ryan Crotty, Tom Taylor, Zac Guildford, Dan Carter, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read (capt), Matt Todd, George Whitelock, Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Corey Flynn, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Ben Funnell, Joe Moody, Luke Whitelock, Richie McCaw, Willi Heinz, Tyler Bleyendaal, Adam Whitelock.

REDS: Ben Lucas, Dom Shipperley, Ben Tapuai, Jono Lance, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Quade Cooper, Will Genia, Jake Schatz, Liam Gill, Ed Quirk, James Horwill (capt), Rob Simmons, James Slipper, Saia Faingaa, Greg Holmes. Reserves: Albert Anae, Jono Owen, Ed O’Donoghue, Radike Samo, Beau Robinson, Nick Frisby, Luke Morahan.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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