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Ex-Wallaby tips Crusaders to move into playoff spot for ‘less than 24 hours’

By Finn Morton
Codie Taylor of the Crusaders leads his team onto the field during the round 14 Super Rugby Pacific match between Crusaders and Blues at Apollo Projects Stadium, on May 25, 2024, in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

Wallabies legend Tim Horan believes the Crusaders will move into the top eight for “less than 24 hours” during a blockbuster final regular season round in Super Rugby Pacific.

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The defending champions have only won three matches from 13 starts this season and currently sit in 10th place, but with eight teams moving on to the playoffs, they’re still a chance to progress.

On the back of a statement two-point win over the table-topping Blues last time out, the decorated franchise will surge into the top eight with a win over Moana Pasifika at Christchurch’s Apollo Projects Stadium on Friday night.

Video Spacer

Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula on his Test eligibility and his uncle Richie Mo’unga

Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula chats with Finn Morton about how he qualifies for multiple countries, namely Samoa, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga, and about what it’s like having Richie Mo’unga as his uncle.

Video Spacer

Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula on his Test eligibility and his uncle Richie Mo’unga

Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula chats with Finn Morton about how he qualifies for multiple countries, namely Samoa, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga, and about what it’s like having Richie Mo’unga as his uncle.

But, whether or not they stay there will depend on other results. The Fijian Drua can lock up a spot with a win in Lautoka on Saturday, and the Western Force may have it all to play against the Brumbies in the final match of the round.

Two-time Rugby World Cup-winning Wallaby Tim Horan, who tipped the Crusaders to come “sixth or seventh” on Stan Sport before the season, doesn’t see the world-renowned rugby side playing finals footy this season.

Head-to-Head

Last 4 Meetings

Wins
4
Draws
0
Wins
0
Average Points scored
39
13
First try wins
75%
Home team wins
50%

“A lot of people are criticising having a top eight and should it go to a top six? What a top eight does, it has conversations right to the end of round 15 which we’re doing now,” Horan said on Stan Sport’s Rugby Heaven.

“I think the Crusaders will win on Friday and then they’ll be in the top eight for about less than 24 hours, until of course the Fijian Drua play the Rebels at lunchtime on Saturday.

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“Fergus Burke was out for a long time and when he came back, he was brilliant… they’re going to lose him to Saracens at the end of the season.

“I see the Crusaders getting in but only for about less than 24 hours.”

With coach Rob Penney leading the way, the Crusaders have welcomed back some key players this month and the team has played some improved rugby on the back of that. All Black Codie Taylor has been superb, and Fergus Burke has also impressed.

In their two most recent outings, the Crusaders went toe-to-toe with the high-flying Brumbies in Canberra which is no easy feat and backed that up with a comeback win over the Blues.

They’ve almost started to look like the Crusaders of old.

But it may very well be too late.

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Their hopeful charge towards the top eight might pull up just short, with another former Wallaby in Cameron Shepherd doubling down on the belief the Crusaders’ season will go no further than round 15.

“They’re still written off, they won’t make it,” Shepherd insisted.

“You’re forgetting that if the Crusaders maybe don’t win or even if they do but Fiji loses, there is still a possibility for the Western Force to sneak into that top eight.

“What’s really, really cool about it is the Crusaders are the first game on the weekend and then the Force are going to be the last one.

“(It’s) going to keep everyone on the edge of their seats for the whole weekend.”

Watch the exclusive reveal-all episode of Walk the Talk with Ardie Savea as he chats to Jim Hamilton about the RWC 2023 experience, life in Japan, playing for the All Blacks and what the future holds. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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