The Crusaders are through to the qualifying round of the 2013 Investec Super Rugby Tournament. Following their 25-17 win over the Hurricanes on Friday they finished fourth on the points table and became the top-ranked ‘Wildcard’ team, securing themselves a home Super Rugby qualifier against fifth placed Reds from Queensland, Australia.
The Crusaders remain undefeated at AMI Stadium this season. Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder says the home ground has become a fortress for the team this year. ‘We are now at the business end of the competition and playing knock out rugby. Having a home ground advantage makes all the difference at this stage of the competition. I know the Crusader fans will be right behind the team on Saturday and will show the Reds what it is like to play at our fortress.’
While the two sides have yet to meet this season they have met previously on nineteen occasions with the Crusaders coming out victors winning 68% of the battles. The Crusaders have made the Semi-finals and Finals on fourteen occasions since the start of the Super Rugby tournament in 1996. The Reds in comparison have only made the latter rounds of the competition on four occasions. One of which was the 2011 Final where the Reds pipped the Crusaders at the final hurdle to win the 2011 championship.
With eleven victories under their belt this season and having won their last four games the Crusaders have plenty of momentum going into the Super Rugby qualifiers. The Reds meanwhile have only played one game since the 1st of June due to the international test window which saw the Lions tour Australia.
‘The team are extremely focused and have shown in recent games that if we do our homework and stick to our game plan we are a force to be reckoned with. It’s going to be an intense, physical and passionate game of footy between two great sides and I know we have what it takes to come away with a win.’
‘This weekend’s game is likely to be the final home game of this season, so Crusader fans brandish your swords and come out in support of the team this coming weekend. There is nothing like playing in front of a home crowd and I know the boys get a huge lift when they hear the roar of the home crowd’ says Blackadder
Tickets for the game will go on sale on Tuesday 16th July at 9am. Fans are urged to get their tickets early as past games between the two sides have been a sold out fast. Tickets for this game start from as little as $21 for an adult, $10 for children or $29 for one adult and one child on a Take a Kid to Footy ticket. Tickets can be purchased through Ticket Direct (0800 224 224 or ticketdirect.co.nz) or The Warehouse.
The game takes place on Saturday 20th July at AMI Stadium, Christchurch. Kick-off is at 19.35 NZ time (17.35 NSW/ACT, 09.35 SAT).