Preview: Waratahs v. Crusaders – The Return of the Black Seven - Green and Gold Rugby
Northern Provincial Rugby

Preview: Waratahs v. Crusaders – The Return of the Black Seven

Preview: Waratahs v. Crusaders – The Return of the Black Seven


Sunday afternoon football returns to Sydney this weekend. And the fans are set to embrace it with more than 35,000 expected to turn up for what is most likely the match up of the round. The Crusaders in recent weeks have looked awesome. They have a complete game and a style very few can match. It will take a special effort to match them in the form they bring into this match. The Waratahs have shown for periods of the season that they have the game to match the Crusaders. But they are yet to put together a complete performance.

The Crusaders come off wins over competition heavyweights the Stormers and the Hurricanes while the Waratahs are off a bye and a stuttering stop-start win over the lowly Rebels. And then there is the massive herd of elephants out of their cupboard and having a wee rest on the reserves bench. Yes, Richie McCaw is back. McCaw along with Dan Carter makes up the Heart and Brain of the Crusaders outfit. This is the first time in 2012 that both will make it on to the field at the same time. If the Crusaders have looked good so far how good can they be with these two back together?

While the Waratahs’ overall record against the Crusaders side is not great it’s pretty good when they play in Sydney. Their afternoon match record is even better. Their injured players, Palu, Elsom and Barnes, all have game time under their belts and they have a forward pack without equal in this country. On the minus side for the Tahs are injuries to Bernard Foley and Paddy Ryan and the suspension of Rob Horne for a dangerous tackle. Foley’s work from fullback will be the most missed.

The Crusaders on the other hand come into the game with a full strength squad. And a backline running rampant. Robbie Fruean and Israel Dagg are in rare form and five-eighth Tom Taylor’s game has forced Carter’s move to inside centre — a position he hasn’t played for a very long time.

Unfortunately the Waratahs’ run-on XV is not available at this time. Below is a best guess at the run on side.

Waratahs V Crusaders - The Teams

Possible WaratahsPositionsCrusaders
Benn Robinson1. PropBen Franks
Tatafu Polota-Nau2. HookerCorey Flynn
Sekope Kepu3. PropOwen Franks
Dean Mumm4. LockTom Donnelly
Kane Douglas5. LockLuke Romano
Dave Dennis6. FlankerGeorge Whitelock
Rocky Elsom7. FlankerMatt Todd
Wycliff Palu8. # EightKieran Read
Brendan McKibbin9. HalfbackAndrew Ellis
Daniel Halangahu10. Fly HalfTom Taylor
Peter Betham11. WingZac Guildford
Berrick Barnes12. Inside CentreDaniel Carter
Tom Carter13 Outside CentreRobbie Fruean
Tom Kingston14. WingAdam Whitelock
Adam Ashley-Cooper15. FullbackIsrael Dagg
John Ulugia16. ReserveBen Funnell
Jeremy Tilse17. ReserveWyatt Crockett
Sitaleki Timani18. ReserveSam Whitelock
Jono Jenkins19. ReserveRichard McCaw
Lopeti Timani20. ReserveWilli Heinz
Sarel Pretorius21. ReserveRyan Crotty
Atieli Pakalani22. ReserveTom Marshall

The Details

Venue &time: Sunday April 29, 2012 Allianz Stadium 4.10pm

Head to Head: Played 18 – Crusaders 14, Waratahs 4

Last Time: 04 Mar 2011 Waratahs v Crusaders 18-33 Nelson

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan


Be part of the conversation on Twitter using #WARVCRU

The Game Breaker

We can talk about Elsom, Palu, Carter and McCaw all day but the man running hot right now is Israel Dagg. Dagg had a huge game last week and the Waratahs’ re-jigged backline will have a lot of trouble keeping him quiet.

The Fearless Prediction

As much as I’d like to predict a Waratahs victory here it’s just not going to happen. I think the Crusaders match or better the Tahs across the park. And the home crowd, the Sunday afternoon atmosphere won’t be enough to counter the Crusaders’ form and the Tahs’ injuries.

Crusaders by 14.


Last words: why not go and see a local game this Saturday? The deserve your support as well.


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  • Waratahjesus

    Think your forgetting the true drawcard for this match. The one on one contest that will nit only decide the match but probably have ramifications on the mental edge for the Tri-nations.

    In the blue corner – number 12 – Thomas “rockabilly” Carter
    In the red corner – number 12 – Daniel “ladies choice” Carter

    It’s going to be epic.

    Tahs by 25

    • Why didn’t I think of that angle! Missed my chance now.

    • the realist

      Sorry to put a spanner in the works. Tom Carter is wearing 13.

      I was going to say the crusaders by 10 but now that i know Kaplan is refereeing I say crusaders by 20. Don’t get me wrong i’m not bitching about the ref i just know he does not put up with any nonsense at the breakdown and the tahs play to the limit. Actually maybe that’s why we’re playing 2 blindsides? One of which is a potental world beater in Elsom. Maybe foley has come up with a solution to counter act Kaplan? okay Crusaders by 15.

      Still can’t wait because this will tell us whether the tahs are any chance of making the semis. If we are closer than what I predict above than maybe we are.

      • I’m sorry Realist. I only had a 22 man squad the side above is only my gestimation of the team. My fault completely.

        • wallaby fan

          ah sorry i didnt read your last line.

  • qwerty51

    Jenkins is starting
    Pakalani will start over Betham
    Barnes will play 10

    • Qwerty do you have a link to a team list?

  • Crusaders by 7 for me.

    Don’t understand why Blackadder persists with Adam Whitelock on the wing though. He must be the least agile back i’ve ever seen. Tom Marshall is a far better prospect.

    By the way I have my own rugby blog if anyone is interested in reading it. I wasn’t feedback so any advice/ help is appreciated!


    • Pedro

      Take the comma out of your hyperlink, then replace it with a full stop.

    • Antony

      Two things:
      1) I actually think he’s pretty good – he’s a very crusaders-style player, not ridiculously athletic, but has a good football brain; and
      2) I think anyone with the last name Whitelock automatically gets picked in canterbury (except for Luke Whitelock, and he has the small matter of Kieran Read ahead of him).

  • Cantab

    No maitland for crusaders. Forwards look close to even compared to crusaders dominance in the backs and bench. Crusaders by less than 7, only because they rarely like to win by more.

  • Dave

    Can’t see the Tahs winning this one. Many reasons, Saders are too good, Kaplan’s anti-aussie sentiment (tongue only half in cheek), Tahs’ injuries, Saders’ home ground advantage, McCaw and Carter together again etc.

    Mind you, despite inuries the Tah’s lineup looks pretty good.

    Crusaders by 15. Desperately hope I’m wrong though.

  • I’m heading out to this one, and am also keen for the warm up game, the “Sevens Bledisloe” at 3pm

    • Blinky Bill – Bellingen via Gosford

      Likewise Moses. It should be a great day of fun in sun. ;)

      Let’s hope the Tahs don’t go into their shells with hero worship but instead show their respect by really taking it to them and inn the process give us fans plenty to shout about.

      Carn the Tahs!!!!!!!!

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Just another Rugby tragic. Shane "Sully" Sullivan has been in man love with the game since high school in the 70's. He inflicts his passion on family and anyone who will listen. He can't guarantee unbiased opinion but he can tell you the Reds are Awesome! To read non-rugby content head to

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