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Super Rugby: Blues embracing underdogs tag

The Crusaders and Blues go head-to-head in the first Super Rugby Pacific semi-final clash on Friday and the visitors will be aiming to pull off an upset.

The game is a repeat of last season’s final, which the Crusaders won, and they are the hot fancies to come out on top again.

However, the Blues could have something to say about that. Despite an inconsistent campaign, they appear to have hit form at the right time and will head into the semi-final full of confidence.

The Crusaders will also be feeling good and have had the sign over the Blues in recent meetings.

But the slate can be wiped clean, this is a semi-final with both sides set to leave everything out on the pitch.

It means all fans of Super Rugby are in for an exciting night as the two sides battle it out for a place in the final, where they will meet either the Chiefs or Brumbies.

WhatCrusaders v Blues
WhereOrangetheory Stadium, Christchurch
When17:05 (AEST), Friday 16th June 2023
How to watchStan Sport
OddsCrusaders 1.54, Blues 2.50

Crusaders sweat on key players

The Crusaders were in impressive form as they smashed Fijian Drua 49-8 to book their place in the semi-final, but it came at a cost.

Ethan Blackadder, Zach Gallagher and Richie Mo’unga all picked up injuries and the Crusaders had to play the last 10 minutes of the game with 13 men.

All three players now face an anxious wait to see if they will make the clash, but the Crusaders do have a next-man-up mentality and whoever steps in will be up to the job.

The Crusaders have been outstanding on home soil when winning the last 14 games in front of their supporters, who have been treated to some high-end entertainment.

They have scored over 40 points in three of the last four home games.

Scott Robertson’s side also have the edge over the Blues in recent meetings when winning the last three games, so it is easy to see why they are the hot fancies.

Codie Taylor will be the danger after scoring four tries in his last three appearances. However, his record against the Blues is not great and he will be keen to put that right.

If it turns out to be a tight game, then the Crusaders can be backed at 5.50 to win by 1-5 points.

Blues happy to be underdogs

The Blues head into the game in good form, but they are still viewed as the underdogs in many peoples’ eyes and it is a tag they are willing to embrace and relish.

They have won eight of the last nine Super Rugby Pacific games and were very impressive in their first play-off when they smashed the Waratahs 41-12.

The noises coming out of the Blues camp suggest they are ready for the battle in Christchurch and will attempt to take the game to the Crusaders with no fear.

Few are expecting the Blues to come out on top, and that could weigh heavily in their favour. All the pressure is on the Crusaders.

The Blues have also been boosted by the news that wing ace Caleb Clarke looks set to return to the side on Friday night.

Mark Telea will also be crucial for the Blues, having scored six tries in his last four games.

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