The Crusaders take on the Waratahs at the last home game of the regular season before we host potential quarters and semis in a few weeks’ time.
Like any Australian side, the Waratahs shouldn’t be scoffed at. The boys in red and black are expecting a big contest against a side we’ve got plenty of history with.
Sam Whitelock returns to the squad for, by some coincidence, his first home game of the season. Make some noise for your boy.
Codie Taylor takes up the captaincy as Scott Barrett rests up ahead of finals. Fergus Burke resumes duties at fullback.
LAST TIME WE MET
The Waratahs beat us 24-21 last time we played them. It was in Aussie, and it stung. We’re hoping to right the wrongs this year in our first face off against them this season.
They won’t like us bringing it up, but in 2002 we beat the Waratahs here in Christchurch by a record-setting 96-19 scoreline. Our man Razor Robertson ran in two tries and at half time it was 63-0 – the team got a standing ovation as they headed for the sheds.
The Waratahs are putting up an all-Wallaby front row in Te Tera Faulkner, David Porecki and and Harry Johnson-Holmes. Expect a big contest at the scrum.
Wallaby Michael Hooper won’t appear for the Tahs, replaced by Charlie Gamble who faces off against Tom Christie.
Mitchell Drummond will be looking across the pack at Waratahs captain Jake Gordon, the multi-capped Wallaby, while Richie Mo’unga will be staring Ben Donaldson in the respective 10 jersey. They’ve both played for their country, Mo’unga just a few more times. (Donaldson 2, Mo’unga 44).
Dylan Pietsch will have the number of Dallas McLeod, both working off a sensational season for their squads. The Waratah winger had a stunner of a game last time we met, while McLeod has been a star performer for the Crusaders in ’23.
Joey Walton will have his work cut out for him in the race to glory on the wing, coming up against Leicester Fainga’anuku. The Crusaders try machine will look to double-down on her performance on Saturday, while Walton will try to add to his one try for the Tahs.
Kickoff: 4.35pm, Saturday 27 May. Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch