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Western Force

  • Super Rugby
  • Overall Group
  • 30th May 2014
  • KO 08:35
  • Ground: AMI Stadium, Christchurch

Super Rugby preview: Crusaders host Western Force in Christchurch

Last updated: 30th May 2014  

Brynard Stander Western Force v Waratahs SR 2014

Brynard Stander: Earns his place in the run-on side after impressive performances from the bench

Kieran Read

Kieran Read: Makes his comeback for the Crusaders after missing five rounds

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Western Force travel to Christchurch on Friday in a bid to overtake the Crusaders as Round 16 of the 2014 Super Rugby season gets underway.

The Crusaders are in pole position in the New Zealand Conference and third overall after securing a thrilling victory over the Highlanders in Dunedin last weekend, while the Force are in fourth place on the overall table and second in the Australian Conference.

There is just a solitary point between the sides and Friday's winner will move above the Waratahs into second, with the Australian franchise playing the Chiefs the following day.

With the competition taking a break - for the upcoming Test window period during June - both sides will be determined to consolidate their positions in the play-off places as defeat could see them dropping out of the play-off positions.

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder was handed a major boost during the week with news thatcurrent IRB International Player of the Year Kieran Read will be fit to captain the side.

Read has been out of action since sustaining an injury in Round 10 against defending champions Chiefs and with the All Blacks squad set to be announced on Sunday, he will be keen to hit the ground running.

"We are up against another very tough team this week and this win is so important for both of us," said Blackadder.

"So we need to make the most of every advantage we've got, and the home crowd is one of the big ones."

Benchmark

Force coach Michael Foley is also aided by the returns of No 8 Brynard Stander and ultility back Patrick Dellit for Friday's trip to the AMI Stadium.

Stander earns his first opportunity in the run-on side after 10 dynamic performances off the bench in 2014.

The 24-year-old will start at blindside flanker, while Angus Cottrell shifts to No 8, replacing Wallabies back-rower Ben McCalman, who will miss the match due to a groin strain.

Dellit returns to the starting line-up and takes the No 13 jersey for the first time since playing the Force at home in 2012 in a new-look centre pairing with Chris Tuatara-Morrison.

"Our recent block of matches has been a great challenge for the boys - starting with three strong South African sides and now facing the Crusaders in Christchurch," said Foley.

"The Crusaders are a benchmark side and our ability to lift for one big effort ahead of the Test window will be crucial to performing well."

Crusaders: 15 Dagg, 14 McNicholl, 13 Taylor, 12 Crotty, 11 Nadolo, 10 Slade, 9 Ellis; 1 Perry, 2 Funnell, 3 Laulala, 4 Bird, 5 S Whitelock, 6 Taufua, 7 McCaw, 8 Read (capt).
Replacements: 16 Flynn, 17 Crockett, 18 Franks, 19 Tupou, 20 L Whitelock, 21 Heinz, 22 A Whitelock, 23 Tuitavake

Western Force: 15 Hayward, 14 Haylett-Petty, 13 Dellit, 12 Tuatara-Morrison, 11 Cummins, 10 Ebersohn, 9 Prior; 1 Cowan, 2 Charles, Longbottom, 4 Wykes 5 Steenkamp, 6 Stander, Hodgson (capt), 8 Cottrell.
Replacements: 16 Tessmann, 17 Van Wyk, 18 Hoskins, 19 Coleman, 20 Hodson, 21 Turner, 22 Holmes, 23 Leyds

You can watch Crusaders v Western Force live from 8:30am on Sky Sports 2HD

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Forthcoming Super Rugby Fixtures
TimeFixture
Super Rugby
Friday 6th March
Super Rugby
06:35Chiefs vs Highlanders
08:40Brumbies vs Western Force
Saturday 7th March
06:35Blues vs Lions
08:40Reds vs Waratahs
15:05Cheetahs vs Bulls
17:10Stormers vs Sharks
Friday 13th March
06:35Hurricanes vs Blues
11:00Western Force vs Melbourne Rebels
Saturday 14th March
03:30Crusaders vs Lions
06:35Highlanders vs Waratahs
08:40Reds vs Brumbies
13:00Stormers vs Chiefs
15:05Cheetahs vs Sharks
Friday 20th March
06:35Highlanders vs Hurricanes
08:40Melbourne Rebels vs Lions
Saturday 21st March
06:35Crusaders vs Cheetahs
15:05Bulls vs Western Force
17:10Sharks vs Chiefs
Sunday 22nd March
05:05Waratahs vs Brumbies
Friday 27th March
06:35Hurricanes vs Melbourne Rebels
09:00Reds vs Lions
Saturday 28th March
05:30Chiefs vs Cheetahs
06:35Highlanders vs Stormers
08:40Waratahs vs Blues
15:05Sharks vs Western Force

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