Kiwi Rivals Do Battle In Super Opener

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The Auckland Blues  and Canterbury Crusaders  kick off the 2012 Super Rugby season when they meet at Eden Park on Friday night. Both sides enjoyed strong seasons last year, with the Crusaders losing the Suncorp Stadium decider to the Qld Reds a week after the Blues bowed out to the same opposition at the semi-final stage.

The Blues have named several World Cup winners in their lineup, although scrumhalf Piri Weepu will come off the bench. Canterbury go into the season opener without star flyhalf Dan Carter and All Black skipper Richie McCaw, although world cup winners Ben Franks, Sam Whitelock and Israel Dagg  all start. International lock Tom Donnelly will make his debut for the franchise after moving from the Highlanders.

The two teams met in the opening round last year, with Auckland winning by two points , before Canterbury got revenge with a seven point win  in the penultimate round of the season.

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