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Game Preview: Round 15 Crusaders v Moana Pasifika

And just like that we face the last round robin fixture of the regular 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season. How is it almost June?


It’s been a bumpy ride to get to here, and our season hangs in the balance of Friday’s result and a few others.


Regardless of finals prospects there’s one thing for sure: this is our last home game of 2024, and your last chance to cheer our boys on from the stands. They need your support now more than ever as we look to do everything we can do secure our place in the playoffs.


It’s not too late to get your hands on tickets.



Key team news


Several legends of the club are potentially playing their last games in the red and black this season. These men have dedicated their lives and their bodies to the Crusaders for literal generations. Don’t miss your chance to see them in the flesh one more time in Christchurch.


Tamaiti Williams is back in the starting XV, huge for our front row, while Macca Springer returns to the wing.


Jamie Hannah has been pulled back after sustaining a leg injury during the week, Dom Gardiner taking his place on the bench.


Last time we met





We played Moana twice in 2023, the Crusaders coming away with the W on both occasions.


Of note was the Round 13 fixture at Auckland’s Mt Smart – 41-7 at full time. Macca ran in two tries that night and it was 29-0 at half time. What magic can we expect when we play them at home?



Match ups


Former All Blacks Julian Savea and Ryan Crotty square off this weekend, Savea’s sheer size and speed and Crotty’s expert reading of the game and technical proficiency making for a tantalising match up.


Crotty will be looking to link up with Fergus Burke, back for his third since an injury layoff, and lead the attack and nullifying Moana’s hard hitting midfielders on defence. No doubt he’ll receive huge help from Dallas McLeod who will face his opposite number Henry Taefu.


Cullen Grace faces former Crusader and now Moana Pasifika Captain Sione Havili Talitui, both having spent the last four years training together and competing for minutes. Talitui's dynamic presence is marked by raw power and agility, while Grace's versatility and relentless work ethic set him apart.


Finally, former Crusader Pepesana Patafilo faces Chay Fihaki on his opposite wing, who is enjoying a remarkable breakout season and playing consistent minutes all year.



Chay’s ability off the tee from absurd distances gives him an x-factor not many teams have, but his versatility and growth this season is a cause for excitement. His growing in confidence has made him a vital part of the starting line up for the red and black.


His athleticism and speed across the park makes him a strong attacking asset but also capable of sweeping defence, as we saw against the Blues last week, with Fihaki running from his opposite wing to beat AJ Lam in a footrace to defuse a Harry Plummer grubber, rise back to his feet, and release an offload to Fergus Burke to set up a Crusaders exit.


Key info:


Tickets here


Kick off: 7.05pm, Apollo Projects Stadium, Christchurch


Referee: Angus Gardner


Assistant Referees: Matt Kellahan, Jeremy Markey