Free Super Rugby Crusaders vs Highlanders Live Streaming 2017 Online Super Rugby Qualifiers Rugby Union, at AMI Stadium, Christchurch, New Zealand, Saturday, 22 July 2017, Time 17:35 (AEDT). Welcome to watch Crusaders vs Highlanders super rugby 2017 all match live stream online on your pc/laptop. Do not wait to access this HD link, when the game is mostly over and you will get live scores and highlights. All the matches are being streaming here; just catch the game from your desktop or laptop Internet. So, Catch the Crusaders vs Highlanders Live Streaming online coverage on Fox Sports,Sky Sports, SuperSport, DIRECTV, BSkyB, Setanta.
The Crusaders enter under the unfamiliar cloud of defeat after they suffered a first loss of the Super Rugby season at the hands of the Hurricanes last week. Many will say it was better then than now and they will hope to bounce back with purpose at home this Saturday.
The Highlanders’ only loss since March 18 came against the Crusaders and that was because of that last ditch Mitch Hunt drop-goal. They’ve been in excellent form of late and enter on the back of a 40-17 hammering of the Reds in Dunedin. They also beat the British & Irish Lions.
The second Super Rugby Qualifier comes from Christchurch where the Crusaders and Highlanders battle it out in what should be an epic game.
An added time drop-goal from Mitch Hunt separated the sides in June and before that it was again three points the difference with the men from AMI Stadium coming out on top on both occasions. Prior to that though it was the Highlanders that had boasted back-to-back successes.
Yet again this should be a close encounter between these 2017 contenders as the Crusaders hunt that elusive eighth title while the Dunedin side look to repeat their 2015 triumph and get their hands on the coveted prize. Both are looking like genuine challengers for the trophy.
The Crusaders of course have lost just one match this Super Rugby campaign but the Highlanders have been progressing very nicely under the radar and have lost only one of their last 11 games. Their form has echoes of that title winning year when few expected them to go all the way but they turned it on when it mattered and once again it is their under-rated pack that continues to impress, skills wise especially.
Both will look to play with tempo which is great for the spectators but it’s unfortunate the weather forecast shows rain is expected, both on Friday and Saturday, which hopefully won’t detract from the spectacle. If it does limit expansive games and force the sides into a more forward oriented clash, one has to feel the Crusaders will be the happier side of the two, with their refreshed All Blacks back in action.
Kieran Read is also fit for this fixture which might also give the Crusaders an edge but in knockout rugby, anything can happen and we all know these Highlanders will back themselves and relish the underdog tag. It promises to be a bruising and breathless contest this weekend.
The last time these teams met: What a finish it was in Christchurch in June as Mitch Hunt’s late, dramatic drop-goal saw the Crusaders win 25-22. Mitchell Drummond, Seta Tamanivalu and Heiden Bedwell-Curtis crossed for the Crusaders while for the Highlanders their try-scorers were Richard Buckman and Waisake Naholo (2). It looked to be heading for a 22-22 draw but up stepped Hunt from long range with that drop.
Players to watch: The return of Ryan Crotty is huge for the Crusaders. His combination with young Jack Goodhue was deadly in their recent meeting with the Highlanders and they’ll hope to get the better of Rob Thompson and Malakai Fekitoa once again this week. Crotty’s smart lines and the ever-improving Goodhue’s intelligence with ball in hand could prove vital in Christchurch. Also watch out for Scott Barrett.
How can we not pick Waisake Naholo? He has scored a brace against the Crusaders in four successive clashes and will surely be a marked man on Saturday. It’s interesting the Crusaders have decided to move Seta Tamanivalu over to the other wing so he faces Naholo, with the much lighter George Bridge benched. The Crusaders will hope that helps limit the damage Naholo can cause but any sniff and he will punish them.
Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Israel Dagg, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Seta Tamanivalu, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock (c), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Mike Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 George Bridge.
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (c), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Rob Thompson, 11 Richard Buckman, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Siosuia Halanukonuka, 19 Alex Ainley, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Elliot Dixon, 22 Kayne Hammington, 23 Marty Banks.