MTN Lions v Crusaders-preview

As if the current spate of injuries in Johannesburg isn’t enough, the MTN Lions have to face the most successful side in Vodacom Super Rugby history at Coca-Cola Park in Johannesburg on Saturday afternoon.

Injury problems have forced MTN Lions coach John Mitchell to delay the naming of his team until Friday. He said earlier that the current injury crisis is the worst he’s experienced as a professional rugby coach.

Meanwhile the Crusaders, seven time champions and last year’s runners up despite not having a proper home base, have selected All Black ace Dan Carter at flyhalf for this match.

These two sides did not play each other last year and the Crusaders are back in Johannesburg for the first time since 2009, when they 32-20 in a game that yielded seven tries, four of them to the visitors.

The Crusaders will be looking to push their winning record in South Africa into positive territory. They have won 19 out of their 38 games over here, or a nice round 50%. That is also the best winning percentage of all overseas teams in the Republic.

The MTN Lions’ only victory over the Crusaders came in 2007, when the Cantabrians went down by 9-3, the fifth lowest aggregate score ever in Vodacom Super Rugby. The only matches where fewer points were scored, were in Dunedin in 2009 when the Highlanders beat the Crusaders 6-0, in Brisbane in 2007 (Brumbies 6 Reds 3), Durban in 2004 (Reds 6 Sharks 5) and Brisbane in 1999 (Reds 11 Hurricanes 0).

Head to head (since 2006)

MTN Lions Crusaders
1 Won 4
4 Lost 1
0 Drawn 0
69 Points for 155
155 Points against 69
6 Tries scored 19
19 Tries conceded 6

MTN Lions v Crusaders

Date: 31 March

SA Time: 17:05

Venue: Coca-Cola Park, Johannesburg

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)

Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Reuben Rossouw (South Africa)

Television match official: Johann Meuwesen (South Africa)

About Martin Myers
Music Supervisor / Artist and Talent Manager / Publicist / Music Exchange Founder / Owner Triple M Entertainment

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