In 29 matches between the two most successful New Zealand sides in Super Rugby history, the victories are split 18 to 11 in favour of the Crusaders, including one grand final victory apiece (the Crusaders in 1998, and Blues in 2003).
However, since 2013 it’s been all one-way traffic as the Crusaders marched to a five-match winning streak against the Blues.
Arguably the Blues’ most famous victory against the Crusaders, besides the grand final victory in 2003, was the 2004 match in Christchurch. Flying Fijian winger Rupeni Caucaunibuca bagged a hat trick in the match, which ended with a length-of-the-field try by Carlos Spencer, who managed to convert it from the sideline amid a chorus of boos.
Let’s hope this Super Rugby matchup is just as memorable.
Looking for a fast start
Looking at the Crusaders’ previous two matches, and how they’ve managed to chase down large deficits against the Highlanders and Reds to clinch victory at the death, the key to victory for our battling Blues could be to score points fast.
It won’t be easy against the unbeaten Crusaders, but you can expect to see a much-improved performance all round from the Blues who will be out to show that last week was merely an aberration.
Tana has named a strong team for the clash, with a number of key positional changes. Piers Francis comes in for Ihaia West, Jimmy Tupou will move to loose forward, Jerome Kaino will play at eight, and the ever dangerous Melani Nanai returns to the wing. See the team list here.
Kick off is at 7:35pm on Friday night.
1996: Blues 49-18 at Christchurch
1997: Blues 29-28 at Pukekohe
1998: Blues 31-24 at Christchurch
Crusaders 20-13 at Auckland (final)
1999: Crusaders 22-16 at Auckland
2000: Crusaders 32-20 at Christchurch
2001: Blues 17-12 at Auckland
2002: Crusaders 30-11 at Christchurch
2003: Blues 39-5 at Albany
Blues 21-17 at Auckland (final)
2004: Blues 38-29 at Christchurch
2005: Crusaders 41-19 at Auckland
2006: Crusaders 39-10 at Christchurch
2007: Blues 34-25 at Auckland
2008: Crusaders 26-22 at Christchurch
2009: Crusaders 15-13 at Auckland
2010: Crusaders 33-20 at Christchurch
2011: Blues 24-22 at Auckland
Crusaders 23-16 at Timaru
2012: Crusaders 19-18 at Auckland
Crusaders 59-12 at Christchurch
2013: Blues 34-15 at Auckland
Crusaders 23-3 at Christchurch
2014: Blues 35-24 at Auckland
Crusaders 21-13 at Christchurch
2015: Crusaders 29-15 at Christchurch
Crusaders 34-11 at Auckland
2016: Crusaders 28-13 at Christchurch
Crusaders 26-21 at Auckland
Photo by Photosport NZ