Round 8 is under way, if you can believe it and it’s a Kiwi derby first up.
The 900-time champion Crusaders are up against a team fighting for their lives – the Hurricanes. The home side have now lost four on the trot after a bright start and are rapidly headed for mid-table mediocrity, if not worse, come the end of the season.
The visitors have only one blemish – the shock loss to the Reds – on their record and should be going all out to inflict further misery on their North Island rivals.
Ref: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)
ARs: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand), Kane McBride (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 08h35 SA Time, 07h35 BST
Hurricanes: 15 Cory Jane, 14 Andre Taylor, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Willie Ripia, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Rodney So’oialo, 7 Karl Lowe, 6 Victor Vito, 5 Michael Paterson, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Neemia Tialata, 2 Andrew Hore (captain), 1 John Schwalger.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Anthony Perenise, 18 Bryn Evans, 19 Scott Waldrom, 20 Tyson Keats, 21 Aaron Cruden, 22 Jason Kawau.
Crusaders: 15 Colin Slade, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read, 7 George Whitelock, 6 Richie McCaw (captain), 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Ti’i Paulo, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Daniel Perrin, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Chris Jack, 19 Thomas Waldrom, 20 Kahn Fotuali’i, 21 Adam Whitelock, 22 Jared Payne.