Hertford Highlander

Fotuali’i get’s first start of the season for the Crusaders


Written by Gwyn Pratley (Hertford Highlander)

Posted in :In the news, RWC 2011, Super Rugby on 13 Apr 2011 at 07:05
Tagged with : , , ,

Skysport.co.nz reports that Kahn Fotuali’i gets his first Crusaders start for the season against the Chiefs in their ninth round Super Rugby match at Mount Maunganui on Friday and the lively halfback is hoping the match will be as memorable for him as when the teams last clashed.

That was in Hamilton 13 months ago where Fotuali’i also made his first run-on appearance because No. 1 choice, Andy Ellis, had been concussed in the Blues match the previous week.

Fotuali’i made the most of his opportunity, scoring his team’s two tries in the 26-19 win. He continued to perform impressively throughout the campaign and gained selection in the Manu Samoa team for its end-of-year tour.

Fotuali’i again replaces Ellis but not because the All Blacks halfback is injured this time. Ellis has played almost every minute in the Crusaders’ first six matches and will come off the bench on Saturday.

Fotuali’i is one of two changes to the team which steam-rolled the Bulls in Timaru last Saturday. Loose-head prop Wyatt Crockett gives way to Owen Franks, who will play tighthead with bearded brother Ben swapping to loose-head.

Dan Carter was named in the team but suffered a recurrence of the hamstring injury which kept him out of the Bulls game during the final training on Wednesday and Matt Berquist will again wear the No. 10 jersey and be responsible for the goal-kicking.

However, the Crusaders received better news with All Blacks captain Richie McCaw training freely and being named in the reserves. McCaw, who underwent a foot operation earlier this year, is set to make his 104th appearance and first for the season.

Fotuali’i said he was not dwelling on how well the game went for him against the Chiefs last year.

“My focus is on doing my core roles of passing and getting to the rucks and setting our backs alight as we’ve got some real attacking weapons out there.

“I’ve got to give them some quick, clean ball as well as marking Brendon Leonard. He really loves to run the ball and he’s really good at it so I’ve got to keep a defensive eye on him and within our systems we’ve prepared for that.”

Fotuali’i said he was excited about starting.

“It will be tough against the Chiefs, but I’ve got to show the coaches that I’m capable of stepping up and lifting up a notch on my performances last year.”

Although Fotuali’i has not been paired with Berquist before outside of training, he said both knew they were in pivotal roles and had to show leadership.

“While Mattie is new to the team his job is to steer the team around with good calls and make sure we’re sticking to the game plan and my job is to direct the forwards and give good ball to the backs when they want it.”
Although the Crusaders won the last two tightly contested matches, they found the Chiefs a stumbling block in 2007 and 2008, the 30-24 loss in Christchurch four years ago ending a 24-match unbeaten streak by the red-and-blacks.

Team:
1.Ben Franks, 2.Corey Flynn, 3.Owen Franks, 4.Brad Thorn, 5.Chris Jack, 6.George Whitelock, 7.Matt Todd, 8,Kieran Read (c), 9.Kahn Fotuali’i, 10.Matt Berquist, 11.Zac Guilford, 12.Sonny Bill Williams, 13.Robbie Fruean, 14.Sean Maitland, 15.Israel Dagg.

Reserves: 16.Quentin MacDonald, 17.Wyatt Crockett, 18.Luke Romano, 19.Richie McCaw, 20.Andy Ellis, 21.Tom Marshall, 22.Adam Whitelock.


8 Comments

  • He would make my World XV pushing Ben Youngs, Will Genia and FDP to fight for the bench spot ! 😯

  • Comment 1, posted at 13.04.11 09:26:23 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 1) :

    Sit down HH, Morne’s not going to be happy with that call ! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 2, posted at 13.04.11 09:27:03 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • What’s the deal on this chap? Does he want to play for the All Blacks? If he does when will he be legible for selection?

  • Comment 3, posted at 13.04.11 09:28:58 by Ben Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 3) :

    No big deal just the best going around. ! 😯

    He plays for Samoa…. you may bump into him in pool play at the RWC ! 😕

  • Comment 4, posted at 13.04.11 09:32:14 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 4) : No I mean the deal of him playing for the All Blacks? Does he want to?

  • Comment 5, posted at 13.04.11 09:35:50 by Ben Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 5) :

    He can’t has played for Samoa ! 😕

  • Comment 6, posted at 13.04.11 09:41:36 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • O yeah that sucks! 😉

  • Comment 7, posted at 13.04.11 09:44:52 by Ben Reply
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  • Saders don’t get your heads all big and mighty it can pop with any team down on the log

  • Comment 8, posted at 13.04.11 12:52:28 by chaz Reply

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