Well, here we go team. It’s the Blues at home here in Christchurch, and it’s sold out.
It’s a late-season derby, it’s a grudge match, it’s a litmus test heading into the all-important last rounds of Super Rugby Pacific ’23.
Whatever your definition and emotion on this one, every time we face our Northern rivals it’s a moment in history. Some of our club’s most important battles have been against the Blues, so prepare yourselves and bring on Saturday night.
Oli Jager and Leicester Fainga’anuku both play their 50th on Saturday, big milestones for two important players to the team.
Will Jordan makes his second start of the season in fullback. Mitchell Drummond resumes as starting halfback.
Plenty of points were put on the Western Force last week from set piece, so work has continued with our forwards. Joe Moody, Codie Taylor and Tamaiti Williams form a strong front row so keep an eye out for forward movement from the scrum and rolling maul.
LAST TIME WE MET
We beat the Blues in Eden Park on 18 March this year, final score 34-28. The lead changed a lot, and nine tries were scored (three by Fainga’anuku). This time we meet at home here in Christchurch in front of a sell-out and passionate Southern crowd.
Let’s not forget we played the Blues in the final of Super Rugby Pacific ’22, again at Eden Park. 45,000 people turned out to watch the red and black wave roll over the Northerners 21-7.
It’s impossible to speak to all the match ups in this one, so here are our top three to look out for.
Richie Mo’unga and Beauden Barrett. The No 10s will square off from 7.05pm as two of the best first-fives in the world. On the All Time Super Rugby Top Point Scorer table, Barrett is currently third and Mo’unga is fourth.
Patrick Tuipulotu and Scott Barrett. Tuipulotu has 43 All Blacks caps, Barrett has 60, the pair often finding themselves shoulder to shoulder. It’ll be a huge contest in the depths of the scrum on Saturday and these two are in the thick of it.
Caleb Clarke and Leicester Fainga’anuku. Holy moly. Caleb Clarke’s scored six tries from 10 appearances this season, Leicester Fainga’anuku nine from eight appearances. They are both on form wingers fighting for title points and a potential seat on the bus in France. It’s all on the line here.
Kickoff: 7.05pm, Saturday 13 May
Referee: Nic Berry