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Super Rugby: Crusaders looking to bounce back

Western Force will be looking to boost their chances of playing finals when they take on the Crusaders on Saturday.

There are just five weeks of the regular season remaining and Force have work to do if they are to make the top eight and extend their season.

Crusaders have no such worries as they sit in fifth spot on the ladder and for them it is all about finishing as high as possible.

They will want a home quarter-final to boost their chances of going all the way, and that will require them to finish in the top four.

That is very achievable with just four points separating them from the Brumbies who sit in second spot on the ladder. However, a win on home soil against the Force is a must.

WhatCrusaders v Western Force
WhereOrangetheory Stadium, Christchurch
When14:35 (AEST), Saturday 6th April 2023
How to watchStan Sport
OddsCrusaders 1.01, Western Force 17.00

Crusaders have the edge over Force

The Crusaders have dominated against the Force in recent seasons and have won the last five games on the trot.

Not only that, they have done it in convincing fashion, when winning by an average of 20 points per game, so it is no surprise they are the hot fancies here.

However, they do head into the game on the back of a 10-point defeat against the high-flying Chiefs and will be keen to bounce back in style.

It is tight at the top and the Crusaders know a strong finish to the campaign could see them finish as high as second place in the Super Rugby standings.

Crusaders will welcome back Will Jordan, who will play his first game since September last year after recovering from a worrying migraine-related illness.

Jordan has been named to play at the fullback and, as well as starring for the Crusaders, he is keen to force his way into the All Blacks squad that will play at the World Cup later this year.

Leicester Faingaanuku has been bang in form for the Crusaders when scoring seven tries in his last five appearances.

Not only that, he scored a hat-trick of tries when he last came up against  Force in round 12 of last season.

He can be backed at 1.44 to score anytime on Saturday, or 8.50 to score the first try of the game.

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Force look to end away-day blues

Force have won just three games out of nine this season and it is no surprise that all three have been on home turf in Perth.

They do not travel well, so face a massive task in trying to overcome a Crusaders side on their own patch.

You also have to go way back to 2014 to find a time that Force beat a side from New Zealand away from home.

However, they can take confidence from the fact they beat New Zealand outfit the Highlanders a couple of weeks ago.

Force will be without five-eighth Bryce Hegarty, who is suffering from a knee injury, but that will allow Max Burley to make his debut.

Burley is set for a baptism of fire when he takes the No.10 jersey as he will be up against Crusaders star Richie Mo’unga, but he is ready to meet the challenge head on.

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