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.
Dagg has contributed 320 minutes already for the All Blacks and the Crusaders; Reiko Loane featured for the Blues and Maori aside his time in the All Blacks but his total is 320 minutes as well; Whitelock also contributed over 300 minutes for the Crusaders and the All Blacks; Beauden Barrett, Brodie, Retallick, Taylor, Read, Franks and Joe Moody have played over 200 minutes. These all makes the issue of workload management crucial so there is a balance.
Crusaders are leading by two points but the coach Scott Robertson would be focusing on getting past the round-robin stage to make the home final. The outcome of the game would affect the schedule of both sides. If Crusaders lose, and the Lions defeat the Sharks, the team would have to travel to Ellis Park for the final. On the other hand, Hurricanes are in the fifth spot and are seeking a quarter final spot against the Bumbies in Canberra rather than traveling to Cape Town for face the Stormers.
“I’m sure the Hurricanes and the Crusaders are really looking forward to belting each other, but the smart play would be to have to look at who we need to play and who we don’t need to play from a Super Rugby championship [perspective]. That’s where I think a mental break would be just as important as a physical one,” Hansen advised.