2 May 2024

The answer to the Crusaders problems? Get Razor to pick their 10

12:31 pm on 2 May 2024
David Havili of the Crusaders


Analysis - Any other year and the top and bottom of the Super Rugby ladder would have very much taken shape by now.

But here we are with five games left in the regular season and a number of scenarios are on the cards, which we might get closer to finalising after this weekend.

It is another one that features no NZ derby games aside from Moana hosting the Highlanders, but once again, all eyes will be on the Crusaders when the hot and cold Reds head to Christchurch.

Hurricanes v Waratahs

Kick-off: 7.05pm Friday 5 May

Sky Stadium, Wellington

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 27: Xavier Numia of the Hurricanes scores a try during the round ten Super Rugby Pacific match between ACT Brumbies and Hurricanes at GIO Stadium, on April 27, 2024, in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Xavier Numia of the Hurricanes scores a try during the round ten Super Rugby Pacific match between ACT Brumbies and Hurricanes at GIO Stadium, in Canberra. Photo: Mark Metcalfe / Getty

The Canes should bounce back from their first loss of the season against a Tahs team that has been disappointing this season against everyone not called the Crusaders. Clark Laidlaw suddenly finds himself down to his fourth and fifth choice hookers, so Kianu Kereru-Symes and Raymond Tuputupu will need to make sure their lineout throwing and scrummaging is on point.

Hurricanes: 15 Ruben Love, 14 Josh Moorby, 13 Billy Proctor (c), 12 Riley Higgins, 11 Bailyn Sullivan, 10 Brett Cameron, 9 Richard Judd, 8 Brayden Iose, 7 Peter Lakai, 6 Devan Flanders, 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4 Caleb Delany, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Kianu Kereru-Symes, 1 Pouri Rakete-Stones

Bench: 16 Raymond Tuputupu, 17 Xavier Numia, 18 Pasilio Tosi, 19 Justin Sangster, 20 Du'Plessis Kirifi, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Jordie Barrett, 23 Salesi Rayasi

Waratahs: 15 Mark Nawaqanitawase, 14 Triston Reilly, 13 Joey Walton, 12 Lalakai Foketi, 11 Dylan Pietsch, 10 Will Harrison, 9 Jake Gordon (c), 8 Langi Gleeson, 7 Hunter Ward, 6 Lachlan Swinton, 5 Fergus Lee-Warner, 4 Hugh Sinclair, 3 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 2 Julian Heaven, 1 Hayden Thompson-Stringer

Bench: 16 Jay Fonokalafi, 17 Lewis Ponini, 18 Brad Amituanai, 19 Miles Amatosero, 20 Charlie Gamble, 21 Jack Grant, 22 Tane Edmed, 23 Vuate Karawalevu

Rebels v Blues

Kick-off: 9.35pm Friday 3 May

AAMI Park, Melbourne

The Rebs had a rude awakening last weekend with a big loss in Christchurch and will hopefully have been spending plenty of time on the scrum machine, for their sake. The Blues will go in as heavy favourites, although their defence did look a bit leaky in their thriller in Brisbane.

Rebels: 15 Andrew Kellaway, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 David Feliuai, 11 Darby Lancaster, 10 Carter Gordon, 9 Ryan Louwrens, 8 Rob Leota (c), 7 Vaiolini Ekuasi, 6 Josh Kemeny, 5 Josh Canham, 4 Angelo Smith, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Jordan Uelese, 1 Isaac Kailea

Bench: 16 Ethan Dobbins, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Tuaina Taii Tualima, 20 Maciu Nabolakasi, 21 Jack Maunder, 22 Jake Strachan, 23 Lachie Anderson

Blues: 15 Cole Forbes, 14 Mark Tele'a, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 AJ Lam, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Harry Plummer, 9 Taufa Funaki, 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Dalton Papali'i, 6 Anton Segner, 5 Laghlan McWhannell, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (c), 3 PJ Sheck, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Ofa Tu'ungafasi

Bench: 16 Kurt Eklund, 17 Joshua Fusitu'a, 18 Marcel Renata, 19 Sam Darry, 20 Cam Suafoa, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Corey Evans, 23 Bryce Heem

Moana Pasifika v Highlanders

Kick-off: 2.05pm Saturday 4 May

Teufaiva Stadium, Nuku'alofa

Moana Pasifika midfield back Danny Toala in the Moana Pasifika versus Highlanders Super Rugby Pacific game at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland on 31 March, 2023.

Moana Pasifika midfield back Danny Toala in the Moana Pasifika versus Highlanders Super Rugby Pacific game at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland on 31 March, 2023. Photo: Photosport / Brett Phibbs

Super Rugby heads to Tonga for the first time ever, with Moana taking their annual game to Teufaiva Stadium in what should be an intriguing rematch of their first round game. Since then, both Moana has had their ups and down while the Highlanders have mostly been down, Clarke Dermody needs to find some way to get this team firing right now if they are to have any chance of salvaging something from this season. He will have to do it without the team's only All Black, with Ethan de Groot given the weekend off to go duck hunting.

Moana: 15 William Havili, 14 Viliami Fine, 13 Henry Taefu, 12 Julian Savea, 11 Fine Inisi, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Jonathan Taumateine, 8 Lotu Inisi, 7 Sione Havili Talitui (c), 6 Jacob Norris, 5 Allan Craig, 4 Tom Savage, 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 Samiuela Moli, 1 Abraham Pole

Bench: 16 Sama Malolo, 17 Sateki Latu, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Ola Tauelangi, 20 Solomone Funaki, 21 Ere Enari, 22 Danny Toala, 23 Neria Fomai

Highlanders: 15 Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens, 14 Timoci Tavatavanawai, 13 Tanielu Tele'a, 12 Jake Te Hiwi, 11 Connor Garden-Bachop, 10 Cameron Millar, 9 Folau Fakatava, 8 Billy Harmon (c), 7 Sean Withy, 6 Oliver Haig, 5 Fabian Holland, 4 Mitch Dunshea, 3 Saula Ma'u, 2 Henry Bell, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown

Bench: 16 Jack Taylor, 17 Ayden Johnstone, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Will Tucker, 20 Nikora Broughton, 21 James Arscott, 22 Sam Gilbert, 23 Martin Bogado

Crusaders v Reds

Kick-off: 4.35pm Saturday 4 May

Apollo Projects Stadium, Christchurch

Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson waves to fans and supporters during the victory lap after winning the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific title.

Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson waves to fans and supporters during the victory lap. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

If the Reds can put on the sort of attacking display they did last weekend, this one should be a cracker against the resurgent Crusaders. Les Kiss's side welcomes back Tate McDermott and Fraser McReight, while Scott Robertson has instructed Rob Penney to pick David Havili at first five. If he is going to pick the team for the Crusaders, then Robertson might as well come back and take their trainings too.

This is the most interesting game of the round because really these are the two most interesting teams right now. The Reds have all the capability and just need consistency, while the defending champs are keeping everyone guessing after their horrific start to the year.

Crusaders: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Levi Aumua, 12 Dallas McLeod, 11 Sevu Reece, 10 David Havili, 9 Mitch Drummond, 8 Christian Lio-Willie, 7 Ethan Blackadder, 6 Cullen Grace, 5 Quinten Strange, 4 Scott Barrett (c), 3 Fletcher Newell, 2 Brodie McAlister, 1 George Bower

Bench: 16 George Bell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Owen Franks, 19 Jamie Hannah, 20 Corey Kellow, 21 Noah Hotham, 22 Rivez Reihana, 23 Chay Fihaki

Reds: 15 Jock Campbell, 14 Tim Ryan, 13 Josh Flook, 12 Hunter Paisami, 11 Mac Grealy, 10 Lawson Creighton, 9 Kalani Thomas, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Liam Wright (c), 5 Angus Blyth, 4 Ryan Smith, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Matt Faessler, 1 Peni Ravai

Bench: 16 Josh Nasser, 17 Sef Fa'agase, 18 Zane Nonggorr, 19 Connor Vest, 20 John Bryant, 21 Louis Werchon, 22 Harry McLaughlin-Philips, 23 Suliasi Vunivalu

Chiefs v Western Force

Kick-off: 7.05pm Saturday 4 May

FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton

Samipeni Finau of the Chiefs.

Samipeni Finau of the Chiefs. Photo: Aaron Gillions / www.photosport.nz

The Force face a very tough challenge on the second leg of their NZ tour, up against a Chiefs side that's flying under the radar a bit due to attention on the Crusaders, Blues and Canes. Etene Nanai-Seturo getting a run at fullback in Shaun Stevenson's absence will be interesting, as it is another chance for the versatile 24-year-old to make a case for higher honours. Meanwhile, Ben Donaldson will be on high alert for Samipeni Finau, after the Chiefs blindside has made a habit of monstering Australian first fives.

Chiefs: 15 Etene Nanai-Seturo, 14 Emoni Narawa, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Quinn Tupaea, 11 Daniel Rona, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Cortez Ratima, 8 Wallace Sititi, 7 Kaylum Boshier (c), 6 Samipeni Finau, 5 Tupou Vaa'i, 4 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 3 George Dyer, 2 Bradley Slater, 1 Aidan Ross

Bench: 16 Tyrone Thompson, 17 Ollie Norris, 18 Kauvaka Kaivelata, 19 Manaaki Selby-Rickit, 20 Luke Jacobson, 21 Simon Parker, 22 Xavier Roe, 23 Josh Ioane

Force: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Bayley Kuenzle, 13 Sam Spink, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Chase Tiatia, 10 Ben Donaldson, 9 Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, 8 Reed Prinsep, 7 Carlo Tizzano, 6 Will Harris, 5 Jeremy Williams (c), 4 Tom Franklin, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Tom Horton, 1 Josh Bartlett

Bench: 16 Feleti Kaitu'u, 17 Marley Pearce, 18 Tiaan Tauakipulu, 19 Izack Rodda, 20 Michael Wells, 21 Henry Robertson, 22 Max Burey, 23 Henry O'Donnell

Brumbies v Fijian Drua

Kick-off: 9.35pm Saturday 4 May

GIO Stadium, Canberra

Fijian Drua lost to Brumbies in Round 8 of the Super Rugby Pacific competition at the GIO Stadium in Canberra on 14 April 2023.

Fijian Drua lost to Brumbies in Round 8 of the Super Rugby Pacific competition at the GIO Stadium in Canberra on 14 April 2023. Photo: Fijian Drua

Probably the best match up the Brumbies could have after their statement win over the Canes last weekend. The Drua have once again been horrible away from home and Canberra is a tough place to visit anyway, so this should be one way traffic unless the Brumbies turn in a shocker like they did against the Blues.

Brumbies: 15 Tom Wright, 14 Andy Muirhead, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Tamati Tua, 11 Ollie Sapsford, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Harrison Goddard, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Rory Scott, 6 Jahrome Brown, 5 Tom Hooper, 4 Nick Frost, 3 Allan Alaalatoa (c), 2 Connal McInerney, 1 James Slipper

Bench: 16 Billy Pollard, 17 Harry Vella, 18 Sefo Kautai, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Luke Reimer, 21 Ryan Lonergan, 22 Declan Meredith, 23 Hudson Creighton

Drua: 15 Selestino Ravutaumada, 14 Junior Ratvua, 13 Iosefo Masi, 12 Michael Naitokani, 11 Taniela Rakuro, 10 Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula, 9 Peni Matawalu, 8 Meli Derenalagi (c), 7 Kitione Salawa, 6 Vilive Miramira, 5 Isoa Nasilasila, 4 Mesake Vocevoce, 3 Mesake Doge, 2 Tevita Ikanivere, 1 Haereiti Hetet

Bench: 16 Mesu Dolokoto, 17 Livai Natave, 18 Samu Tawake, 19 Leone Rotuisolia, 20 Motikiai Murray, 21 Simione Kuruvoli, 22 Kemu Valetini, 23 Ilaisa Droasese