All Blacks players have returned to strengthen Super Rugby teams The Crusaders and The Highlanders ahead of the quarter final clash this weekend. The Christchurch-based Crusaders have received a boost of five All Blacks stars, including centre Ryan Crotty.
Crotty picked up a hamstring injury in the first test when the All Blacks clashed with the British and Irish Lions. Frontrowers Owen Franks, Joe Moody and Codie Taylor all returned. The trio were rested by the Crusaders in the 31-22 victory against the Hurricanes last week. The trio are expected to add to the selection pool as the Crusaders face The Highlanders after ending the 14 game winning streak of the wellington-based side last week. (more…)
The Lions did something incredible in the course of their clash with the All Blacks; they unravelled the aura around their opponents. Going into any game against the New Zealand side, there is this psychological barrier for sides in the northern hemisphere. The series tie should be a reference point for other sides, according to England World cup winning coach Clive Woodward.
The coach said the ‘genie is out of the bottle’ with regards to how things ended in the Lions Tour. Woodward was the head coach when England faced the New Zealand side in 2005. They suffered a 3-0 loss as the All Blacks side were unbeatable. (more…)
There are rising concerns over the workload of the New Zealand side. Players from the Crusaders and Hurricanes would be meeting in opposite sides when both sides meet for their Super Rugby fixture. After the tied Test series outcome against the Lions, the All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen would be watching the game to know which players to rest before the quarter final match at Wespac Stadium.
Crusaders players Sam Whitelock and Kieran Read require careful management in the following weeks, considering their recent schedule. Hooker Codie Taylor played all three Tests as Dane Coles was absent. Israel Dagg, Owen Franks, Joe Moody also need to be closely monitored after efforts against the Lions. (more…)