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How the Force plan to 'write a bit of history' against Crusaders

(Photo by Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images)

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Western Force captain Feleti Kaitu’u wants his team to write a new winning chapter in their history with the Crusaders in Perth.


The Crusaders have won six of their past seven encounters against the Force, and they will start as hot favourites in Saturday night’s Super Rugby Pacific match at HBF Park.

The Force (2-7) will be in danger of losing touch with the top eight if they’re beaten, and Kaitu’u says a win over New Zealand’s powerhouse Crusaders would be special.

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Aotearoa Rugby Pod | Episode 12
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“The Crusaders – the name speaks for itself,” Kaitu’u said.

“They’ve been the pinnacle of rugby clubs all around the world for the better part of two decades.

“It’s an extremely exciting challenge for us as a group and we’ll be looking to get out there and write a bit of history for ourselves.”

The Crusaders (7-3) have slipped to third spot after losing two of their past three matches, including last week’s 24-21 defeat to the NSW Waratahs.


The rare form slump has sparked talk of it being the end of a golden era.

But coach Scott Robertson, who has guided the Crusaders to five titles in five seasons, isn’t panicking.

“The longer you go on, the stats change,” Robertson told NZ media.

“You can compare over the last five years, but there is a considerable amount of change – players in the group and the players we’ve had out there.


“So we’ve just got to make sure we focus on them and get them right.

“We’re certainly not at peak form. We’ve got a few things we need to address to get right, and we believe we will be where we need to be.”

The Force are equally determined to post a win after their bid for an after-the-siren try against New Zealand’s ladder-leading Blues last week fell just short in a 22-18 defeat.

The Force had 26 phases in their desperate late bid, and the defeat still hurts.

“It definitely still stings to lose on the bell there,” Kaitu’u said.

“But we feel we really made some inroads and saw glimpses of our potential and how we want to move forward as a club.”

The Force will be without winger Toni Pulu (hamstring) and flanker Kane Koteka, who will miss the rest of the season with a foot injury.

The Crusaders have made eight changes to their starting line-up, with backs Mitchell Drummond, Richie Mo’unga, Braydon Ennor and George Bridge all returning.


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