Crusaders stick with tried and true

The forward pack remains from last weekend's win over the Stormers, while Bryn Hall will start at halfback, pushing Mitchell Drummond to the bench.

In the reserves, Andrew Makalio comes on to the bench, to cover Codie Taylor at hooker.

Openside Matt Todd will play his 100th Super Rugby game.

Coach Scott Robertson said he had no doubt that Todd would give his all on Saturday night.

"Matt is an absolute work horse who gives full energy and commitment every time he takes the field - it wouldn't matter if it was his first game or his 100th."


Crusaders back on top after demolishing Stormers

The Crusaders ran in five tries in the opening 40 minutes, All Blacks skipper Kieran Read grabbing two, as they had the game won with a 36-3 lead at the break.

The win leaves the Crusaders atop the New Zealand conference and the overall standings, the only unbeaten team after eight weeks.

The Stormers, coming off a 29-16 loss last week to the Kings, sorely tested the Crusaders' defence early, but could only come away with a Robert du Preez penalty.

Whitelock staying until 2020

Whitelock is the All Blacks' most capped lock with 84 appearances since his debut against Ireland in 2010.

The 28-year-old dual-world-cup winner has established himself as one of New Zealand's premier locks alongside Chiefs big man Brodie Retallick in the black jersey.

Whitelock said staying in New Zealand was an easy decision.

"When I considered whether my immediate playing future was here in New Zealand and Christchurch, I didn't need to look far for the answer.

Crusaders too strong for Sunwolves

New Zealand captain Kieran Read, making his first appearance following wrist surgery last year, Ben Funnell, Pete Samu, George Bridge and Whetu Douglas also crossed for the home side who were celebrating Crockett's 176th appearance.

Crockett, who led the team onto the field, surpassed the previous mark of 175 appearances racked up by former All Blacks hooker Keven Mealamu.

Crockett to make Super Rugby history

The Crusaders will take on Japan's Sunwolves in Christchurch on Friday night.

Crockett will overtake former All Blacks team mate Keven Mealamu's record for the most capped player.

The Cantabrian also holds the record for the most Super Rugby games for one team.

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has made a number of changes to the side which comes off a by-week with only five players in the 23 remaining in the same position.

Crusaders put Waratahs to the sword

The unbeaten competition leaders resisted a spirited second-half fightback from the Waratahs to consign Daryl Gibson's men to a fourth loss from six outings in 2017.

The Waratahs once again paid the price for a sloppy defensive display, missing a staggering 24 tackles in the first half alone and leaking two soft tries from lineout losses at Allianz Stadium.

Languishing in third-last spot on the ladder, things do not get any easier for the Waratahs, who travel to Wellington next to take on the defending champion Hurricanes on Friday night.

Waratahs to put Crusaders to the sword

The Waratah host the unbeaten competition leaders in Sydney on Sunday with their finals hopes in the balance after a ho-hum two-from-five start.

But skipper Michael Hooper hopes last week's thrilling comeback win over the Melbourne Rebels, after trailing 25-6 at halftime, will prove the spark that revived the Tahs' 2017 fortunes.

"The comeback gave it that extra little bit for the viewers," the champion flanker said at Saturday's captain's run at Allianz Stadium.

"That's how we want to play. Look at our stats, it's sharing the workload. That's Waratahs footy.

Crusaders back their discipline

Memories of the way the Waratahs used bruisers like Will Skelton and Tolu Latu to poke, niggle and provoke - illegally and otherwise - the Crusaders when they last visited Sydney haven't been forgotten.

Neither they should be. Watching the Waratahs forwards steam into the Crusaders in 2015, and you have to admit the city boys really did give the men from New Zealand the big V, made for painful viewing.

Former NZ 20s midfielder TJ Faiane handed first start for Blues as Rieko Ioane rested

The former New Zealand under-20s midfielder made his Super Rugby debut off the bench two weeks ago against the Crusaders, an occasion that would have come much sooner but for successive season-ending knee injuries.

This week Tana Umaga has thrown Faiane the second five-eighth starting role for the Blues match against the Western Force at Eden Park on Saturday, pushing George Moala out to centre and spelling Rieko Ioane on the bench.

Crusaders come from behind to pip Reds

Trailing 20-7 at halftime after losing three players to injury early at Lang Park, the Crusaders rallied brilliantly to keep the Reds scoreless after the break and maintain their perfect record after three rounds of the season.

The Crusaders were down to 14 men in the 68th minute after loose forward Jordan Taufua was sin-binned for a light punch on Reds lock Rob Simmons but replacement scrumhalf Bryn Hall's second try gave the visitors hope with four minutes to play.

Hunt converted Hall's try to bring the Crusaders within a point and the Reds duly crumbled under pressure.