nib Stadium, Perth, Saturday (AEST)Last meeting: Round 18 2012 – Crusaders 38 bt Force 24 at Christchurch Stadium Head-to-head: Played 7 Force 1 Crusaders 4 drawn 2 In Perth: Played 4 Force 1 Crusaders 2 drawn 1Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (RSA)TV: Live, FoxSports 2TAB Sportsbet: Force $3.50 Crusaders $1.28
Steve Samuelson writes: The Force always trouble the Crusaders in Perth and their cause is helped by the absence of All Blacks quartet Dan Carter, Kieran Read, Matt Todd and Sam Whitelock. The Force need to play with more endeavour and rising star Kyle Godwin needs to be fed more ball.
AAP writes: Force coach Michael Foley was quick to admit his side’s 30-23 defeat to the Rebels last week was their worst performance of the season. Compounding their woes was the loss of in-form lock Hugh McMeniman, who will miss at least six weeks with a fractured shoulder.
The Crusaders were also dealt a heavy blow with five-eighth Dan Carter ruled out after tweaking his hamstring. The Crusaders have opted to rest forwards Sam Whitelock and Matt Todd. The Force have notched just one win this season and are in danger of finishing last in the Aussie conference, while the Crusaders (3-3) need to get a wriggle on to make the finals.
FORCE: Jayden Hayward, Alfie Mafi, Junior Rasolea, Kyle Godwin, Ed Stubbs, Sam Norton-Knight, Alby Mathewson, Richard Brown, Matt Hodgson (capt), Ben McCalman, Sam Wykes, Toby Lynn, Salesi Ma’afu, Heath Tessmann, Pek Cowan. Reserves: Ben Whittaker, Tetera Faulkner, Rory Walton, Chris Alcock, Mick Snowden, Sias Ebersohn, Patrick Dellit.
CRUSADERS: Israel Dagg, Adam Whitelock, Robbie Fruean, Ryan Crotty, Tom Marshall, Tyler Bleyendaal, Andy Ellis, Luke Whitelock, Shane Christie, George Whitelock (capt), Dominic Bird, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Corey Flynn, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Ben Funnell, Joe Moody, Tom Donnelly, Jordan Taufua, Willi Heinz, Telusa Veainu, Zac Guildford.
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