The first of the play-off matches sees the Crusaders host the Bulls in Christchurch, a match that will full of huge hits and big forward play, from both sides, but with more clinical finishing in the form of the Crusaders backs.
The Crusaders are without Kieran Read this week again, but with McCaw in at 8 and Matt Todd on the side of the scrum, the forwards aren’t weakened as much as the Bulls would have hoped. Amongst the backs, Robbie Fruean is back in midfield after missing last weekend’s clash, forming a formidable partnership with Ryan Crotty in midfield.
For the Bulls, Flip van der Merwe is back in the tight five after missing last weekend’s match, bolstering the forward pack. The Bulls backs will have to be in top form to hold the attacking backs of the Crusaders, with defence in midfield a key area, where Olivier and Engelbrecht will be forced to make tackles aplenty!
Crusaders: 15. Israel Dagg, 14. Adam Whitelock, 13. Robert Fruean, 12. Ryan Crotty, 11. Zac Guildford, 10. Dan Carter, 9. Andy Ellis, 8. Richie McCaw (Captain), 7. Matt Todd, 6. George Whitelock, 5. Sam Whitelock, 4. Luke Romano, 3. Owen Franks, 2. Corey Flynn, 1. Wyatt Crockett
Replacements: 16. Quentin MacDonald, 17. Ben Franks, 18. Tom Donnelly, 19. Luke Whitelock, 20. Willi Heinz, 21. Tom Taylor, 22. Sean Maitland
Bulls: 15. Zane Kirchner, 14. Akona Ndungane, 13. JJ Engelbrecht, 12. Wynand Olivier, 11. Bjorn Basson, 10. Morné Steyn, 9. Francois Hougaard, 8. Pierre Spies (Captain), 7. Jacques Potgieter, 6. Dewald Potgieter, 5. Juandre Kruger, 4. Flip van der Merwe, 3. Werner Kruger, 2. Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1. Dean Greyling
Replacements: 16. Willie Wepener, 17. Frik Kirsten, 18. Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19. Deon Stegmann, 20. Jano Vermaak, 21. Louis Fouche, 22. Francois VenterTweet