Crusaders name Sam Whitelock in team for SRP final

Whitelock was seemingly in doubt for this weekend’s decider, with New Zealand coach Ian Foster saying the All Blacks didn’t “expect him to play based on the medical data we’ve got.”

But the departing lock has been named for his 178th and final game in Crusaders colours. Whitelock will pack down in the second row alongside captain Scott Barrett.

The Crusaders have named an unchanged front row of Tamaiti Williams, Codie Taylor and Oliver Jager, while Barrett and Whitelock complete the rest of the tight five.

Chiefs to come out swinging against fast starting Crusaders

15 Crusaders points in the opening 12 minutes set the tone for the match in Christchurch, which ended with a scoreboard figure of 52-15. The other semi-final offered an entirely different match, with the first try of the game only coming in the 78th minute.

The Chiefs have found ways to win all season and Jacobson, fresh off being named in the All Blacks‘ 2023 Rugby Championship squad, was looking content with the week ahead when he spoke to the media on Tuesday.

Crusaders expect plenty of niggle from the Blues

The Blues will endeavour to upset a Crusaders outfit who command a superlative post-season record at home.

And with the injury-decimated hosts looking vulnerable on paper, there is an expectation the northerners will look to unsettle the red and black machine in Christchurch.

Hurricanes and All Blacks hooker Dane Coles served up a push-button masterclass against the Crusaders a fortnight ago during the regular season's final weekend.

Barrett expects something similar on Friday night.

All Black Fainga'anuku confirms move to France

In a move that could possibly affect his All Black selection chances for the tournament in France in September and October, the 23-year-old has confirmed he's signed an 18-month contract with French Top 14 club Toulon.

He'll join the side after the culmination of the World Cup.

Fainga'anuku said the move away from New Zealand "ticked a lot of boxes for me both on and off the field".

"I feel like I've achieved a lot playing in New Zealand, and I cherish those accomplishments as some of the proudest moments in my life so far," Fainga'anuku said.

Axed Waratahs coach lands role with Crusaders as Robertson's successor

In a development sure to raise eyebrows, Penney has won the plum role as successor to the All Blacks-bound Scott Robertson despite two underwhelming stints at the Waratahs and Shining Arcs in Japan.

The 59-year-old Cantabrian was unveiled as coach of the 11-times Super kings and reigning titleholders on Tuesday.

His appointment completes one of the great coaching comebacks.

Whitelock confirms move to France

The veteran Crusader and All Black has taken up a two-year deal with Section Pau in the South of France, where he will link up with younger brother Luke who joined the Top 14 club in 2019.

"Hannah, the kids and myself are going to head to France to play with my little brother Luke," Whitelock said.

"I've had the privilege of playing with family for Canterbury, the Crusaders and the All Blacks at different stages and this opportunity was too good to pass up."

Whitelock debuted for Canterbury in 2008 and the Crusaders in 2010.

Joe Moody out for eight weeks

Moody's had ankle surgery after being injured in the side's win over the Blues a fortnight ago.

He'll be out for eight weeks which means he will still be available for the All Blacks World Cup campaign in France in September.

Moody's the fourth prop the Crusaders have lost during their title defence.

The Super Rugby Pacific side has already lost Fletcher Newell, George Bower and Finlay Brewis to injuries.

The Crusaders hope to add another prop to their roster in the near future.

34 year old Moody missed much of last season with an ACL injury.

Crusaders blunt Blues' attacking weapons in hard-fought victory

The first half was a physical arm wrestle with both sides held scoreless for the first 29 minutes.

The Crusaders broke through for their opening try from Quinten Strange on the half hour mark with plenty of power and work from CodieTaylor in the set-up.

The first chance for points for the Blues came from the boot of Beauden Barrett who slotted a penalty.

With points hard to come by, the home side took the three as Richie Mo'unga converted a penalty before the half-time break.

The Crusaders held a narrow 10-3 lead heading into the changing sheds.

All Black set for Crusaders milestone in crunch clash with rivals Blues

With the race for a top four spot in the playoffs heating up, this weekend’s clash between the two New Zealand rivals means even more.

Defending champions the Crusaders, who beat the Blues in a tight tussle earlier in the season, will host the competitions third-ranked side at Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch, on Saturday.

The Crusaders are fourth, and risk falling behind the Hurricanes and into fifth on the ladder if they fail to beat the Blues.

All Black returns for Crusaders’ clash with undefeated Chiefs

After losing the opening match of the season 31-10 to the Chiefs in Christchurch, the Crusaders have a chance to avenge that defeat in round 10.

Coach Scott Robertson has made three changes to the run-on XV, while Sam Whitelock has also been named for his 350th first-class appearance.

Replacement Quinten Strange is also in line for his 50th appearance in a Crusaders jersey, as he looks to provide some impact off the bench at FMG Stadium.