Crusaders

Crusaders and All Blacks lose Crotty and Barrett

And the All Blacks duo are also in line to miss the Rugby Championship that follows.

Crotty fractured his thumb in the semi-final win over the Hurricanes and had surgery on Sunday to stabilize it.

He will be sidelined for up to eight weeks.

Barrett will miss the next five to six weeks after fracturing the second metacarpal at the base of his index finger.

The Crusaders have ready-made replacements in the midfield and at lock.

Mo'unga shines as Crusaders storm home

With a breathtaking blend of defensive grunt and attacking inspiration, the double defending champions kept their perfect home record in playoffs intact and extended their unbeaten winning streak at Rugby League Park to 29 matches.

They will return to the venue to meet the winner of the Hurricanes and the Bulls, who play their quarter-final on Saturday.

"We knew it was going to be tough, quarter-finals are always tough," Crusaders captain Sam Whitelock said.

Ryan Crotty to play 150th match as Crusaders aim for top spot

Crotty will slot in a second-five, partnering All Blacks teammate Jack Goodhue in the midfield, as the two-time defending champions aim to bounce back from last week's dismal 40-27 defeat to the Chiefs in Suva.

As a token of Crotty's services to the club, the Christchurch Stadium West Stand has been renamed the 'Ryan Crotty Stand' for this match.

Owen Franks poised for return for Crusaders against Rebels

The veteran prop's been struggling with a muscle tear in his right shoulder but has survived what appeared to be a busy training session in Christchurch on Tuesday.

Franks has to get through the full week to be considered for Saturday night's final round robin game against the Rebels. 

"It was great for him to get a good session in today," said assistant coach Ronan O'Gara. "He's tracking along nicely.

"He's been out for a substantial amount of time, so you have to be careful. He's such a prized asset that you've got to make sure you get his return to play right."

Richie Mo'unga and George Bridge to play for Crusaders this weekend

A group of players, including Bridge, are accused of making homophobic remarks to a group of men in a Cape Town restaurant.

All Blacks first five Richie Mo'unga is said to have spat beer on a woman and touched her inappropriately.

The alleged incidents - which have been denied by the players - occurred on the team's recent tour of South Africa.

The coach Scott Robertson has named both players to start against the Blues for Saturday's game and says the players are looking forward to their side of the story coming out.

Crusaders 'desperately' want CCTV footage of alleged incident

New Zealand Rugby and the Crusaders have brought in lawyer Steph Dyhrberg to investigate the claims that emerged following separate late-night incidents while the Crusaders were in South Africa this month.

New Zealand Rugby and the Crusaders say they are treating the allegations seriously - though they clash with the players' own version of events.

The first incident allegedly occurred in a Cape Town bar during the weekend of 11 and 12 May after the team arrived in the city following their game against the Bulls in Pretoria on Friday night (South African time).

Crusaders capitalise on Canes' mistakes

Will Jordan and Braydon Ennor also crossed for the visitors who moved to 24 points on the table, giving themselves some breathing room ahead of the Hurricanes (19) at the top of the New Zealand conference.

Ngani Laumape scored the Hurricanes' only try in the match in which both sides committed numerous errors while the Crusaders defence forced several turnovers when the hosts were on attack.

No excuses from Crusaders

The two-time defending champions have been beaten 20-12 by the Waratahs at the Sydney Cricket Ground, ending their winning run at 19.

"It was a tough week but look we're Crusaders, we don't make excuses we just needed to be better in a lot of parts of the game," coach Scott Robertson said.

The teams stood arm-in-arm in a circle on the pitch for a minute's silence in memory of the victims of the Christchurch attack before the start of the match.

NZ Sports minister backs discussion over Crusaders name change

The Christchurch shootings have prompted discussion over whether a the franchise's name, which is linked to the Crusades against Muslims in the 11th to 13th centuries should remain.

The Crusaders logo depicts a medieval knight swinging a sword, while horsemen often ride into the Christchurch stadium ahead of matches dressed as medieval knights.

The Crusaders have said they will discuss the matter with the Muslim community and Robertson says that's appropriate but he won't say whether the name should be changed.

Crusaders beat Blues in Super Rugby opener

The nine-time champions scored four tries to three on Saturday at Eden Park, but only clung to victory when Blues reserve five-eighth Harry Plummer missed two late shots at goal.

Making his maiden Super Rugby appearance, Plummer skewed a handy conversion attempt and then a 45m penalty shot, both inside the final seven minutes of a fiercely fought Kiwi derby.

It was a gut-wrenching result for new Blues head coach Leon MacDonald, whose team look highly competitive and capable of breaking a seven-season run of failing to reach the finals.