Reds vs Crusaders

This match is being billed Australian Champion team versus NZ Champion team. These teams showed in their first round Trans-Tasman matches that they were still in celebratory mood. The Reds were thumped by the Highlanders albeit with a weakened side due to injuries. The Crusaders looked good in parts of their match against the Brumbies but fall away badly in the second half. This is most surprising since the Crusaders are widely regarded as the best second half team in SR. We should not read too much into the Reds showing in the first game and they are a totally different proposition on their home turf backed by a partisan home crowd. There will be many interesting personal duels none more so than James O’Connor against the magician Richie Mo’unga. O’Connor is the more traditional flyhalf who likes to kick for territory while Mo’unga is constantly looking for gaps that he can run into or a player that he can offload to. The Reds in SR AU would not have come up an opposition like the Crusaders who are equally strong in the backs as they are in the forwards. Brad Thorn has moulded this Reds team into a prolific unit who rely on their forwards to dominate teams. This tactic will be futile against the Crusaders as they have a formidable forward pack. The Crusaders have players that can attack from anywhere on the field. There is no more dangerous counter attacker in the game than Will Jordan. This guy has been scoring tries for fun and his absence was felt last match out. The Reds will be punished if their kicking game is not accurate.

TIP: The Crusaders always lift their game when they see a big challenge in front of them and no doubt the Reds pose a major threat. It remains to be seen if the Reds can raise their game to keep up with the high tempo game of the Crusaders. The Reds will need Taniela Tupou to be at his best at scrum time and continue his attacking runs. The Reds have often been behind in matches during SR AU but have found a way to come back and win. They will need a fast start as the Crusaders never relinquish a lead. The bookies have the Crusaders as favourites and I’m in agreement with this assessment. The best odds on the Crusaders win are as follows: Worldsportsbetting 1.25, Playabets 1.22 and Sunbet 1.26

HEAD TO HEAD STATS

Reds vs Crusaders

  • The Crusaders have won the last eight meetings between these sides.
  • In six home meeting with the Crusaders it is tied at three wins apiece.
  • The last time the Reds beat the Crusaders was in 2011.

Latest results for both teams

The Reds lost their last match against the Highlanders 40-19 while the Crusaders beat the Brumbies 31-29 in their last match.

PREDICTION

The Reds will be keen to show that their first round defeat was just a blip and will want to bounce back against the Crusaders. This will be easier said than done as the Crusaders will also want to be much better than they were last week. The scrum battle will be intense as both these teams pride themselves on using the scrum to gain penalties. The Reds will need to start this game much better than they unusually do as it’s almost impossible to catch the Crusaders after they build a lead. The Reds game plan is to dominate teams in the last quarter but the Crusaders are at their best during this time so that tactic won’t work in this match. I expect the Crusaders to gain an early lead and build on that lead therefore I predict them to win by more than 10 points.

  • Probable Starting XVs

Reds

15 Bryce Hegarty, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 13 Hunter Paisami, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Jock Campbell, 10 James O’Connor 9 Kalani Thomas, 8 Seru Uru, 7 Liam Wright, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Angus Blyth, 4 Ryan Smith, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Dane Zander.

Crusaders

15 Will Jordan, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Braydon Ennor, 12 David Havili, 11 Leicester Fainga’anuku, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Cullen Grace, 7 Tom Sanders, 6 Ethan Blackadder, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Mitchell Dunshea, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor (captain), 1 George Bower

Odds for this bet

The best odds on the Crusaders victory are as follows.

Worldsportsbetting 1.25

Playabets 1.22

Sunbet 1.26

Odds comparison on a Crusaders handicap victory

The complete odds on the Crusaders handicap victory are as follows:

Worldsportsbetting (-9.5) 1.90

Playabets (-10.5) 1.86

Sunbet (-10.5) 1.82

Predictions and Odds in details

The Trans-Tasman competition is a very condensed so gaining bonus points will be crucial to allow teams to make the final. The Crusaders will feel disappointed that they did not get a bonus point against the Brumbies at home and although they are playing away from home they will target this match for a bonus point victory. The Reds know that after their first round loss they need all bonus point victories now and this could just play into the Crusaders hands, The Reds will need to play a more open game that they are not used to that and any mistakes will be punished by the Crusaders. The bookies are not offering much on the outright Crusaders victory therefore I suggest the Crusaders on the handicap victory. These are the best odds on the Crusaders handicap victory: Worldsportsbetting (-9.5) 1.90, Playabets (-10.5) 1.86 and Sunbet (-10.5) 1.82

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