CRU­SADERS

NZ Rugby World - - Super 18 -

RE­CRUIT­MENT BAL­ANCE

The bal­ance is against them – they are worse o now than they were last year. The two big losses are Andy Ellis and Ne­mani Nadolo. They will miss Ellis’ ex­pe­ri­ence, con­trol of the game and the fact he is an all round good guy. Nadolo was their one ma­jor weapon out wide and of­ten felt like he was sav­ing them all on his own. Not an easy man to re­place.

WHAT CAN WE EX­PECT TAC­TI­CALLY?

They will use their tight five more as ball run­ners and line break­ers into the mid­dle of the field to build more mo­men­tum be­fore they go wide. The ar­rival of Ta­mani­valu gives them the abil­ity to crash over the gain­line and use his strength to cre­ate at­tack­ing op­tions on both sides of the ruck.

GUT FEEL – RIS­ERS OR FALL­ERS?

Gut says fall­ers. We aren’t sure whether the new coach­ing team has the ex­pe­ri­ence to make their mark im­me­di­ately. There is also a fair chance that with so many All Blacks – in their tight five es­pe­cially – that a few key play­ers will build slowly into their sea­son with the Bri­tish Lions the tar­get to peak for in June.

WHERE WILL THEY FIN­ISH?

They will make the playo s but strug­gled to beat the New Zealand teams last year and we sus­pect that won’t change.

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