Dan Carter adds plenty of spark to the Crusaders line-up. Image courtesy of skysports.com
It is almost a decade since the ACT Brumbies and the Crusaders met in three Super Rugby finals and dominated the early part of this century. While the Brumbies sit atop the Australian Conference, those halcyon days must seem a long way back for the Cantabrians. To give an indication of where the Crusaders are, they lost 16-14 to the Western Force last month and last week needed a couple of late penalty goals to get home over the top of another struggler, the Melbourne Rebels.
The inclusion of Dan Carter at fly-half following time off for his wedding will boost the visitors considerably. One All Black who won’t be in the starting line-up, though, is the badly out-of-form Israel Dagg. The fullback has been punted to the bench with Tom Taylor moving from inside centre to take over the No. 15 jersey while Ryan Crotty returns to fill Taylor’s spot.
The Brumbies are unbeaten in their last five starts, but two of those results were draws against the Southern Kings and Queensland Reds. Unlike the Crusaders two weeks prior, ACT absolutely pummelled the Western Force 41-7 last week in Canberra. The Brumbies have won six of the nine matches played between these teams in the nation’s capital.
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