The rivalry between the Blues and the Crusaders is one of the most fiercely contested in Super Rugby history.
Since the competition's inception in 1996, their clashes have produced some of the most memorable moments in Super Rugby history, and their last encounter in the final of the 2022 season saw the Crusaders emerge as champions. As the Blues prepare to host the Crusaders once again at Eden Park in round four, fans can expect another epic showdown between these two proud and storied franchises.
Key numbers of the rivalry:
41: The old rivals have played 41 times with the Crusaders winning 28 matches, the Blues 12 matches, and one match drawn.
1,068: The Crusaders have scored 1,068 points against the Blues.
805: The Blues have scored 805 points against the Crusaders.
45.7: An average of 45.7 points are scored in each match between the sides.
The Blues will be looking to avoid back-to-back defeats at Eden Park in Super Rugby for the first time since February 2020, following their 21-7 loss to the Crusaders in the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific final.
It doesn’t get any more blockbuster than Beauden Barrett v Richie Mo’unga at first five-eighth. The two premier playmakers in New Zealand (if not the world) will duel in a head-to-head clash which will have huge influence on the outcome of the match. In the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific final, Richie Mo’unga pulled the strings perfectly in the Crusaders 21-7 victory. Beauden Barrett was starved of quality ball in that encounter and will be eager to make his imprint on the game at Eden Park. Expect both these wizards to open their full bag of tricks at Eden Park.
Final words from coaches Leon MacDonald (Blues) and Scott Robertson (Crusaders).
"We're excited about it. It's two different teams in quite different situations. They're pretty hungry and desperate, and we are as well. We haven't hit our full stride yet, either.We've shown some good glimpses and it would be nice to put in a performance we are proud of."
“There's a few boys covering different positions this week. Just the nature of where we're at with our injuries. And they're good, we planned for it, prepared during pre-season if they needed to slot in at some stage, and they're ready.”
Is Hoskins Sotutu the form number eight in #SuperRugbyPacific? Dalton Papali'i thinks so! pic.twitter.com/XaHN4fG5E8— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) March 13, 2023
BLUES (1-15): Alex Hodgman, Ricky Riccitelli, James Lay, James Tucker, Cameron Suafoa, Adrian Choat, Dalton Papalii (c), Hoskins Sotutu, Finlay Christie, Beauden Barrett, Caleb Clarke, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Rieko Ioane, Mark Telea, Stephen Perofeta
RESERVES: Soane Vikena, Jordan Lay, Nepo Laulala, Tom Robinson, Taine Plumtree, Taufa Funaki, Bryce Heem, Zarn Sullivan
CRUSADERS (1-15): Joe Moody, Codie Taylor, Tamaiti Williams, Scott Barrett (c), Sam Whitelock, Ethan Blackadder, Tom Christie, Sione Havili Talitui, Mitch Drummond, Richie Mo'unga, Leicester Fainga'anuku, Dallas McLeod, Braydon Ennor, Sevu Reece, Fergus Burke
RESERVES: Brodie McAlister, Kershawl Sykes-Martin, George Bower, Zach Gallagher, Christian Lio-Willie, Willi Heinz, Pepesana Patafilo, Macca Springer
The Blues host the Crusaders at 7.05pm NZT, Saturday 18 March, at Eden Park, Auckland.