Live updates: Super Rugby - Crusaders vs Highlanders

FULLTIME: CRUSADERS 45 - 22 HIGHLANDERS

80mins: The Highlanders will have the final say with the put into the scrum. They get it back and Sopoaga takes it into contact but the Crusaders counter-ruck before winning the penalty through none other than Crockett! Mo'unga kicks it out and that's full time.

78mins: Highlanders win the penalty from the scrum, so a bit of relief. They get the ball back from their own lineout and go through Walden. Smith steps a couple before finally getting tackled but the Crusaders turn it over.

76mins: Mataele intercepts and he's away! The flying Fijian looks certain to score but Ben Smith makes a superb tackle and forces the knock on just a couple of metres short. What an effort from Smith to run him down.

74mins: Crusaders win another penalty and it's an easy kick for Mo'unga. They're just looking to see out the clock now and Mo'unga slots the easy kick to extend the lead. They've just been too good in the second half.

72mins: Mataele kick for himself and regathers. Crusaders looking for more but Thompson intercepts! Oh no, ref says he was offside and calls them back. He needed to make that play, the Crusaders had huge numbers. 

70mins: CRUSADERS TRY - BRIDGE: Crusaders win the lineout and go through Taufufa. They're just outside the 22m as Tamanivalu has a charge. Mo'unga hits the line at pace, gets the ball and he's in space! He fires a long pass to the unmarked Bridge, he gathers it in on the bounce and goes in for his second.

66mins: Sopoaga puts up the bomb and again, it's Havili who gets up to win it. They go wide through Tamanivalu and Mataele. Goodhue gets it, dummies and he's away! He fires it to Bridge and they're just five metres out now. They try and go quickly but knock on right in front of the try line.

64mins: Taufua takes in the restart before Drummond puts up the box kick for Ioane to have a run. Sopoaga tries the bomb but a leaping Havili beats them all to it. Drummond puts the kick up but it goes out on the full.

62mins: Crusaders putting it through the phases but the Highlanders are holding nicely. Whitelock can't help himself and concedes the penalty at the ruck. Mo'unga will have a shot at goal and he slots it through to extend the lead.

60mins: Thompson finds a bit of space but Goodhue wraps him up nicely in the tackle. They shift left and fire a LONG, cutout pass but there's a knock on. Goodhue finds Havili off the back of the scrum before Drummond has a dart. Mo'unga tries the kick over the top but there's nobody chasing and the Highlanders clear.

58mins: Crusaders win the lineout and try the drive on the Highlanders 22m. They eventually break through Crotty, but he stays in close before conceding the penalty.

56mins: Dixon has a run from the lineout and Naholo has a run down the right wing before putting the kick through. Squire ALMOST finds Thompson with the pass but it's just behind him before Naholo is penalised.

54mins: Hemopo charges down Mo'unga's kick but Lomax knocks on shortly after before the Crusaders clear. Highlanders go through Dixon and Taufua is penalised at the breakdown.

52mins: Crusaders march the Highlanders scrum backwards before breaking away. Crusaders keeping it tight, Naholo gets over the ball and forces the penalty. Great work from the winger.

50mins: Read's come off and is replaced by last week's opponenet, Jordan Taufua. Solid performance from the ABs captain. Meanwhile, Smith is nailed in the tackle but somehow holds on.

48mins: Highlanders wanting to play it out of the 22m and Thompson tries the grubber through but it's easy for the Crusaders to collect and Read has a charge! Bedwell-Curtis knocks on right after though.

46mins: HIGHLANDERS TRY - NAHOLO: Sopoaga puts the foot down and accelerates into the tackle. Highlanders looking to hit back now. They go right to Thompson and he finds Naholo at pace and he bursts through a couple of tackles before sprinting 40 metres to score the try. This is crazy!

44mins: CRUSADERS TRY - MO'UNGA: Hall darts from the scrum and puts Crotty in space! He draws in one, finds Mo'unga and the first-five is away! He runs across field, puts the kick through for himself, out sprints Smith and Sopoaga and dives on the ball for the try. Incredible.

42mins: We're back underway and it's the Highlanders on attack straight away. Whitelock does his best impression of Benji Marshall with a no-look backhanded pass, but Franklin can't hang on. He was through.

HALFTIME: CRUSADERS 25 - 17 HIGHLANDERS

40mins: CRUSADERS TRY: BARRETT: Mo'unga gives it to Crockett, finds Todd with the offload, he passes to Makalio, he steps out of one tackle before finally giving it to Barrett and the lock is over for the try! What a try! Incredible.

40mins: Tamanivalu has a charge, tries to fend Buckman before bumping off Smith but he's tackled into touch around halfway. Goodhue beats a couple but a poor pass after sees them track back. 

38mins: Highlanders put the shove in at the scrum but the Crusaders do well to get it back. Squire makes one of his many big hits of the first half as Mo'unga tries the kick through before Sopoaga's forced to clear.

36mins: HIGHLANDERS TRY - BEN SMITH: Highlanders turn it over and counter through Smith and he puts Sopoaga in acres of space! The first-five is up near the 22m, gives it back to his captain and he beats one more before going over for the try! Sensational play.

34mins: Mo'unga finds Goodhue with a nice offload before Havili gives it to Tamanivalu on the wing. He throws the ball back inside and Smith intercepts before being tackled into touch. Crusaders drive once again but it becomes unplayable for a Landers scrum.

32mins: Crusaders looking to play it out of their own 22m and the Highlanders knock on in the tackle for a scrum. They get it back and Read has a charge before putting Goodhue in space! Crusaders straight onto attack and they're up inside the 22m.

29mins: Barrett wins the lineout and the Crusaders begin the drive. They're making steady progress before Hall fires it to Crotty to have a charge. Squire is right up over him at the breakdown and wins the penalty. They look to attack from the lineout but concede the penalty shortly after and Mo'unga nails the shot at goal to extend the lead.

27mins: Scrum goes down once again and it's Lomax who is penalised this time. Nice little battle forming between him and Crockett. Mo'unga finds touch inside the 22m for the lineout.

25mins: Smith clears to Havili and he gives it to Bridge to counter. Crusaders make it fluff of it out wide, forcing them back 10 metres, so Hall puts the box kick up and forces the knock on.

23mins: Highlanders building nicely and it's Whitelock's offload once again that's causing the Crusaders defence problems. Read is penalised for joining the ruck incorrectly. It's smack in front and Sopoaga knocks the penalty kick over.

21mins: Whitelock is penalised for being offside at the kick, so Mo'unga will line up a shot at goal from about 30 metres out. He strikes it well and it's straight down the middle.

19mins: HIGHLANDERS TRY - LOMAX: Crockett goes down at the scrum and is penalised. Not the best of starts for the double-centurion. Highlanders win the lineout and work their way inside the 22m. Whitelock gets a nice short ball and times his offload to Lomax perfectly off the deck and the prop goes in under the sticks!

17mins: Lomax is penalised for not rolling away but Mo'unga's kick can't find touch and the Highlanders counter. Sopoaga tries the bomb and Havili can't hang on, so we'll have a scrum.

15mins: CRUSADERS TRY - HAVILI: Crusaders pull off a pretty set move from the lineout and Crotty is JUST short of the try line. They've got the advatange and a HUGE overlap out to the left, Hall spots it and cuts out several players to find Havili and he strolls in for the try.

13mins: Smith puts the ball in but it's the Crusaders this time who get the penalty. Lie-nert-Brown was pinged for collapsing. Crusaders win the lineout through Read before Hall clears.

11mins: Highlanders opt for the scrum smack in front of the goal posts. Crusaders are penalised yet again so we'll pack down again. Was Crotty the guilty party that time.

9mins: Highlanders go wide to Buckman but the Crusaders' defence have him well covered. Tamanivalu gets over the ball but is penalised for a Highlanders lineout just five out. The win in, drive and win the penalty.

7mins: Crockett will get an earlier run than expected as Moody has had to go off with an injury. Thompson tries the chip kick for Walden but it just eludes him before the Crusaders knock on.

5mins: Read takes in the kick-off before Havili is smashed by Whitelock in the tackle and is sent backwards. Mo'unga gets back to clear for the Highlanders to counter.

3mins: CRUSADERS TRY - BRIDGE: Mo'unga almost goes through! The go left to Goodhue and he makes good metres before giving it to Bridge and they're just 10 out. Moody is put through a gaping hole and there's right on the try line. Hall fires it to an unmarked Bridge on the wing and he goes over for the try.

1mins: Buckman the first to have a charge for the Highlanders from Mo'unga's kickoff. Smith puts the bomb up and the Crusaders have it just outside the 22m.

7:33pm: Crockett is the first to come out for the Crusaders with his kids by his side. What a moment for the prop. 

7:30pm: Not far from kick-off now. Players will make their way out shortly. Should be a cracker of a New Zealand derby!

7:25pm: The Highlanders are undoubtedly the underdogs, but go into tonight's game knowing they have already beaten the Crusaders this season. Something to hold onto.

7:22pm: Special mention to Wyatt Crockett, who will be playing his 200th game for the Crusaders. Sensational effort.

7:20pm: Thanks for joining us tonight in Kieran Read's comeback match in the red and black. All eyes will be on the All Blacks skipper as he makes his return to Super Rugby.

Kia ora and welcome to AMI Stadium as the Crusaders play host to the Highlanders in week 18 of Super Rugby.  

We bring you live streaming written commentary, (BE SURE TO REFRESH YOUR BROWSER), and all the action.

Commentary will start at around 7:20pm.

Lineups
Crusaders
15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 5 Sam Whitelock (c), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Makalio, 1 Joe Moody.

Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Quinten Strange, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Manasa Mataele.

Highlanders
15 Ben Smith (co-c), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Tei Walden, 11 Richard Buckman, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Elliot Dixon/Liam Squire, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.

Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Pari Pari Parkinson, 20 Shannon Frizell, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Fletcher Smith.

Match officials
Referee: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Referees: Mike Fraser, Jamie Nutbrown
TMO: Aaron Paterson

Previous results
Sat, 17 Mar 2018 Crusaders v Highlanders 17-25 Dunedin
Sat, 22 Jul 2017 Elim Crusaders v Highlanders 17-0 Christchurch
Sat, 03 Jun 2017 Crusaders v Highlanders 25-22 Christchurch
Sat, 04 Mar 2017 Crusaders v Highlanders 30-27 Dunedin
Fri, 13 May 2016 Crusaders v Highlanders 26-34 Dunedin

Head-to-head
Crusaders $1.23 Highlanders $4.05

Pre-match banter: Wyatt Crockett lauded ahead of 200th Crusaders match

Wyatt Crockett has drawn praise for his commitment and longevity to the Crusaders ahead of a milestone 200th Super Rugby appearance.        

It has also won him an unconventional honour.

The prop will have a stadium named after him - for one day only - when the defending champions host the Highlanders.          

When Crockett comes off the bench at Christchurch's "Wyatt Crockett Stadium" - normally AMI Stadium - he will become the competition's first double centurion.             

"It is a really nice gesture with what they have done with the stadium," an emotional Crockett said.

"It will be a cool moment with the family. When I look back, I was lucky to get one game and to be here now,; I'm very grateful."

The 35-year-old made his Crusaders debut back in 2006 - also against the Highlanders in Christchurch - and has been a part of the set- up since.

Coach Scott Robertson lauded Crockett's loyalty to the Crusaders, as most other players to surpass 150 games have represented two or more teams.            

"To reach 200 games at this level takes an immense amount of talent, commitment and personal sacrifice over a long period of time," Robertson said.

"’Crocky’ certainly sets the benchmark for passion and professionalism among our group."  

Even Crockett's former All Blacks teammate, Ben Smith, praised his opponent for Friday night.

"He is a great man," said Smith. "It is awesome that he will reach the 200- game mark and I wish him all the best in what will be a great contest."

Playing 200 Super Rugby games adds to the impressive list of accolades Crockett has achieved over the years.

The loosehead prop has won three Super Rugby crowns and was New Zealand's Super RugbypPlayer of the Year in 2011.

On top of that, he has played in 71 tests for New Zealand.

But his record of most Super Rugby games played in will last for a long time.

Second on the list is retired Brumbies and Reds hooker Stephen Moore (177 games).    

Chiefs loose forward Liam Messam (175) should edge past Moore this month, but he is leaving for a contract in France.

Evergreen Reds flanker George Smith (164), who turns 38 next week, is still to declare his plans for next year.   

Newshub.

 

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