Super Rugby Preview: Round 13

Super Rugby
Matt Lewis Profile
by Matt Lewis previews all four Australian Super Rugby matches ahead of round 13, kicking off with a must win for the Waratahs.

Crusaders vs Waratahs

The Australian and New Zealand conference leaders are set to go head-to-head tonight. The Crusaders' eight-game winning streak was broken last week by the Highlanders, while the Waratahs have won four in a row and can extend their table lead over the Brumbies with a victory.

Key stats

The Waratahs have won their last two matches against the Crusaders. The Waratahs will be looking for their first win in Christchurch since 2004.

Key changes

The Crusaders have made two changes to their starting lineup with Joe Moody replacing Wyatt Crockett in the front row while Ryan Crotty returns at inside centre ahead of David Havili.

David Horwitz will have the first opportunity to be the man to replace Kurtley Beale while Jed Holloway returns from injury, pushing Wycliff Palu to the bench. Zac Guildford returns to the match day 23 for the first time since round six to take on his former team.

Where the match will be won

The Crusaders are dangerous all over the park but when their backs are performing so is the team. If the Waratahs can nullify the ball to the backs, they will be able to stay in the match.

CRUSADERS: Israel Dagg, Johnny McNicholl, Kieron Fonotia, Ryan Crotty, Jone Macilai, Richie Mo’unga, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read (c), Matt Todd, Jordan Taufua, Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Codie Taylor, Joe Moody

Reserves: Ged Robinson, Wyatt Crockett, Mika Alaalatoa, Scott Barrett, Tim Boys, Mitchell Drummond, David Havili, Marty McKenzie

WARATAHS: Andrew Kellaway, Reece Robinson, Israel Folau, David Horwitz, Rob Horne, Bernard Foley, Nick Phipps, Jed Holloway, Michael Hooper (c), Dean Mumm, Will Skelton, David Dennis, Tom Robertson, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Paddy Ryan

Reserves: Angus Ta’avao, Hugh Roach, Jeremy Tilse, Sam Lousi, Wycliff Palu, Matt Lucas, Matt Carraro, Zac Guildford

The match kicks off at 5:35pm AEST Friday, LIVE on FOX SPORTS

Jed Holloway returns for the Waratahs clash with the Crusaders. Photo: Getty Images

Reds vs Sunwolves

The Reds return to Suncorp after a back-to-back New Zealand trips to take on the struggling Sunwolves. With just four wins between the two sides this season, both teams will be eager for a confidence booster on Saturday.

Key stats

The Reds have won their last two games at home, the same number as in their previous 12 home matches. The Sunwolves have conceded an average of 57 points in their three away games this season.

Key changes

Cadeyrn Neville is the only change to the Reds starting line-up, replacing young lock Ben Matwijow. Japanese stars Ayumu Goromaru and Hendrik Tui are set to play their fellow countrymen for the first time.

Where the match will be won

The Reds' set piece in particular their scrum, has been dominant all season. Andrew Ready has been one of the standouts for the Reds in recent weeks and will eager to push his case for Wallabies squad selection later this month.

REDS : Ayumu Goromaru, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Campbell Magnay, Anthony Fainga’a, Eto Nabuli, Jake McIntyre, Nick Frisby, Curtis Browning, Liam Gill, Hendrik Tui, Rob Simmons, Caderyn Neville, Greg Holmes, Andrew Ready, James Slipper (c)

Reserves: Matt Mafi, Sef Fa’agase, Sam Talakai, Ben Matwijow, Michael Gunn, James Tuttle, Duncan Paia’aua, Junior Laloifi

SUNWOLVES: Riaan Viljoen, Akihito Yamada, Derek Carpenter, Harumichi Tatekawa, John Stewart, Tusi Pisi, Atsushi Hiwasa, Edward Quirk, Andrew Durutalo, Liaki Moli, Faatiga Lemu, Timothy Bond, Shinnosuke Kakinaga, Takeshi Kizu, Masataka Mikami

Reserves: Shota Horie, Keita Inagaki, Takuma Asahara, Hitoshi Ono, Taiyo Ando, Yuki Yatomi, Yu Tamura, Mifiposeti Paea

The match kicks off at 3:05pm AEST Saturday, LIVE on FOX SPORTS.

Ayumu Goromaru will take on his Japanese teammates on Saturday afternoon. Photo: Getty Images

Chiefs vs Rebels

The Chiefs are chasing the Crusaders for top spot of the New Zealand conference while the Rebels will be looking to bounce back from their crucial loss to the Brumbies last Friday night.

Key stats

The Chiefs have won three of their four matches against the Rebels.

The Chiefs lost their last match to the Highlanders two weeks ago but haven't suffered back-to-back defeats since 2011.

Key changes

The Chiefs are coming off a bye and have made two changes to their side with Charlie Ngatai ruled out with concussion, paving the way for Anton Lienert-Brown to start at inside centre. In the front row Nathan Harris will start at hooker ahead of Hika Elliot.

The Rebels were forced to make three changes to their starting side with Tom English replacing Cam Crawford who broke his last weekend, Mitch Inman returns for the first time since round five and Sam Jeffries will start at lock after Luke Jones injured his back.

Where the match will be won

Both the Chiefs and Rebels have speed to burn out wide, and whichever team can get their outside backs involved early will have the upper hand.

CHIEFS: Damian McKenzie, Toni Pulu, Seta Tamanivalu, Anton Lienert-Brown, James Lowe, Aaron Cruden (co-captain), Brad Weber, Michael Leitch, Sam Cane (co-captain), Taleni Seu, Brodie Retallick, Dominic Bird, Hiroshi Yamashita, Nathan Harris, Mitchell Graham

Reserves: Hika Elliot, Kane Hames, Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, Michael Allardice, Tom Sanders, Kayne Hammington, Andrew Horrell, Sam Vaka REBELS (15-1): Mike Harris, Sefa Naivalu, Mitch Inman, Reece Hodge, Tom English, Jack Debreczeni, Nic Stirzaker (c), Adam Thomson, Sean McMahon, Colby Fainga’a, Lopeti Timani, Sam Jeffries, Jamie Hagan, James Hanson, Toby Smith

Reserves: Siliva Siliva, Cruze Ah Nau, Tim Metcher, Culum Retallick, Jordy Reid, Ben Meehan, Jonah Placid, Kotaro Matsushima

The match kicks off at 5:35pm AEST Saturday, LIVE on FOX SPORTS

Tom English replaces Cam Crawford on the wing for the Rebels. Photo: Getty Images

Force vs Blues

The Force enjoyed a much-needed bye last weekend after a heavy travelling schedule in recent weeks while the Blues head to Perth after suffering a huge defeat to the Lion in South Africa

Key stats

The Blues are yet to lose a game to the Force, having won five and drawn one since 2008.

The Force have lost their last four home games when playing a New Zealand side.

Key changes

Ben Tapuai returns to outside centre for the Force after missing the last two weeks while Pek Cowan has recovered from a broken arm, named on the bench, and Luke Burton will play his first match of the season.

Blues coach Tana Umaga has made three changes to his side with Josh Bekhuis returning from injury, Billy Guyton named at halfback while former NRL player Matt Duffie named on the wing.

Where the match will be won

It will be the battle of the backrow with experienced heads Matt Hodgson and Ben McCalman going head-to-head with All Blacks Steven Luatua and Kerome Kaino.

FORCE: Dane Haylett-Petty, Marcel Brache, Ben Tapuai, Kyle Godwin, Luke Morahan, Ian Prior, Alby Mathewson, Ben McCalman, Matt Hodgson (c), Brynard Stander, Adam Coleman, Ross Haylett-Petty, Guy Millar, Harry Scoble, Francois Van Wyk

Reserves: Anaru Rangi, Pek Cowan, Tetera Faulkner, Rory Walton, Angus Cottrell, Ryan Louwrens, Luke Burton, Semisi Masirewa

BLUES: Melani Nanai, Matt Duffie, George Moala, Piers Francis, Tevita Li, Ihaia West, Billy Guyton, Steven Luatua, Tanerau Latimer, Jerome Kaino, Josh Bekhuis, Patrick Tuipulotu, Charlie Faumuina, James Parsons (c), Sam Prattley

Reserves: Quentin MacDonald, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Sione Mafileo, Hoani Matenga, Kara Pryor, Bryn Hall, Matt McGahan, Male Sa’u

The Match kicks off at 7:45pm AEST Saturday, LIVE on FOX SPORTS

Ben Tapuai returns after two weeks on the sidelines. Photo: Getty Images