Crusaders Will Face Biggest Challenge When Back At Home

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The Crusaders have looked above and beyond any other side in Super Rugby so far; but they could face their toughest test yet once a difficult trip to South Africa is over.

The next time that the Crusaders play in front of their home fans will be in a clash against the Hurricanes. Now the Hurricanes are a different side altogether when you make the comparison between the Cheetahs and Bulls. That’s not disrespect, it’s fact, and the Hurricanes are also one of two New Zealand conference rivals yet to test Scott Robertson’s men this year.

The Hurricanes have scored more points (369) and an extra bonus point (5) than the Crusaders so far this season. Much like the Chiefs from the mid north, a key difference between these sides and the Crusaders is the one tick in the loss column. The Crusaders remain unbeaten and made easy work of the Stormers last weekend, but the Hurricanes look like the complete attacking package.

Crusaders defense has been a big difference maker – but if you put that up against the Hurricanes attacking power, it suddenly becomes a different conversation. But the Crusaders will be boosted by the knowledge that Sam Whitelock, one of the team veterans, will remain a part of the furniture for many years to come.

Sam Whitelock Re-Signs Through Until 2020

Whitelock is the current captain of the Super Rugby leaders, and head coach Scott Robertson is delighted to have retained the 28-year old through until 2020. Amazingly, Whitelock has never won a Super Rugby title, and the man himself will know that despite a blistering start in 2017, the job is far from done.

Whitelock debuted for the All Blacks back in 2010 against Ireland and his since gone on to become the most capped lock in All Black history. His partnership with Brodie Retallick began in 2012; and the pair are now considered one of world rugby’s best locking duo’s.

Crusaders Still Face Stiffest Challenges Ahead

As good as the Crusaders have been, and with their form suggesting two wins during the trip to South Africa, it is by no means settled yet. Should the Hurricanes and the Chiefs beat the Crusaders in weeks 12 and 13; it’s not inconceivable that the current leaders would slide down to third in the New Zealand conference. By then, it will be time for the International break, and who knows how many Crusaders players from their dominant forward pack could get injured when on All Blacks duty.

The big matches are still to come for the Crusaders – but for the time being their immediate focus is getting through the tour to the Republic.

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