Live updates: Super Rugby - Crusaders vs Sharks

FULLTIME: CRUSADERS 40 - 10 SHARKS 

80mins: Crusaders looking to close the game out, taking it up through their forwards. Hooter sounds and Drummond boots it into touch and that's the game.

79mins: Sharks showing good hands, moving it quickly out wide. They switch right but the Crusaders defence are right on top of them and force the error in contact.

77mins: Sharks try going long with the lineout throw but Todd's there to tap it back the Crusaders way before Mo'unga clears.

75mins: Sharks go to Andrews and set up the driving maul before it comes free for Am to have a run. They're up inside the 22m and win the penalty for a high tackle.

72mins: CRUSADERS TRY - SAMU: Todd takes the quick tap, finds Whitelock and he's in acres of space the big lock! He finds Drummond before he gives it to Samu and he goes in under the sticks for the try.

70mins: Mo'unga puts Crotty in a bit of space before offloading to Whitelock off the deck. Crusaders up to the 22m now but Goodhue loses it in contact.

68mins: CRUSADERS TRY - ENNOR: Mo'unga shows the ball, pops it to Read and he draws one in before finding Ennor, he puts the foot down and races 40 metres to score the try and seal their spot in next week's semi-final against the Hurricanes.

66mins: Van der Walt makes a nice run up the middle but loses it in contact. Schoeman's penalised at the scrum for angling in and Mo'unga finds touch around halfway.

64mins: Du Preez win the lineout ball at the back and the Sharks try the drive before Barrett concedes the penalty for coming in at the side. 

62mins: Geeze, the Sharks are just not getting the rub of the green. Another missed call as Goodhue never released and drove over the top to force the turnover. Why did we go away from neutral refs again?

60mins: Sharks putting it through the phases but the Crusaders defence is holding firm before the ball comes lose for Drummond and Mo'unga clears.

58mins: Drummond finally gets his kick away after an earlier charge down by Botha. Du Preez sets off on a probing run as the Sharks work their way towards the 22m.

56mins: Crotty charges onto Drummond's pass as the Crusaders work their way into the Sharks 22m before winning penalty. Botha was offside. It's right in front so Mo'unga pops the kick over to extend the lead.

54mins: Crusaders win the scrum, Drummond tries the grubber through for his chasers but it's got too much on it and the Sharks get back to force the drop out. Barrett's gone through but his offload can only find contact with Drummond's head.

52mins: Du Preez tries a flat ball to Am but he loses it contact and the Crusaders turn it over. Ennor puts the foot down and he's gone straight through before he tries to find Bridge but the Sharks do enough to disrupt the pass and knock on. 

50mins: Am's in space down the right wing before being dragged down just over halfway. Bosch tries the grubber through but Crotty's boot's in the way and it goes into touch.

48mins: Van der Walt's in space, links up with Esterhuizen, gives it to van Wyk on the right but good Crusaders defence forces him inside. Ball comes the Saders way and Bridge clears. Mvovo almost produces a bit of magic down the left wing but we'll come back for a Sharks penalty and du Preez pops it over to reduce the lead.

45mins: Todd's about the third or fourth player at the ruck and somehow wins the penalty at the breakdown. Mo'unga can't find touch however and Bosch clears up to halfway.

43mins: CRUSADERS TRY - TODD: Bridge makes a nice run and bumps off a couple of players and has the Crusaders just five metres out. They switch right through Hall, he carries the contact before popping the ball to Todd and he's over for the try.

41mins: We're back underway and van der Walt has the first run of the second half. It comes back for Bosch and he clears down field before Mo'unga chips and tackles the covering player into touch.

HALFTIME: CRUSADERS 16 - 7 SHARKS

40mins: Todd's in space up the middle and links up with Havili who was taken early in tackle of van der Walt and the Sharks are penalised. It's straight in front so Mo'unga slots the easy three to extend the lead and takes us into the break.

38mins: Mtawarira sets off a nice run up the middle as the Sharks work their way up to halfway. Du Preez kicks but Ennor reads it well and runs it back.

36mins: Havili spots space down field and finds touch inside the Sharks 22m after a rather aimless kick from Bosch. Barrett drags down Andrews at the lineout and concedes the penalty.

34mins: Mvovo taken in the air but ref ignores it before Bosch's kick is charged into the Sharks goal area and Am wins the race to dot down and force the drop out. 

32mins: Crusaders somehow again turn the ball over as the Sharks look to drive before the visitors concede the penalty for being offside. Both team's lineouts have been messy.

30mins: Sharks look to go left through Am but he's wrapped up well before the Crusaders concede the penalty for not rolling away at the breakdown. 

28mins: Vermeulen makes a strong run from Mo'unga's kick-off before Esterhuizen finds touch just outside the Sharks 22m.

26mins: SHARKS TRY - VAN WYK: Van Wyk does well to intercept Read's pass over the top and he puts du Preez in space. Sharks spot space out wide, Vermeulen finds van Wyk on the wrap around and he dives over for the try.

24mins: Crusaders do brilliantly to disrupt the Sharks drive, turn it over and clear. Crusaders looking to drive the Sharks over the ball at the breakdown but Todd concedes the penalty for hands in the ruck.

22mins: Mvovo almost goes over on the left wing but is forced to cut back infield. Sharks have huge numbers out wide but van der Walt drops the ball with the try line begging. That's shocking. We'll come back for a penalty.

20mins: Sharks concede the free-kick and Read takes the tap before setting on a charging run up the middle. Crusaders penalised for hands in the ruck on halfway.

18mins: Du Preez' wrapped up by Taufua at the back of the scrum but the Crusaders front row are penalised. Taufua lucky to get away with a high one. Du Preez hits the post in what should have been an easy shot at goal.

16mins: Sharks making good progress with the driving maul before it's eventually dragged to ground. They still have it, looking to attack up the middle through their forwards and a Crusaders player knocks on at the ruck.

14mins: CRUSADERS TRY - HAVILI: Crotty slices through the Sharks defence once again, beats two players, cover defender's closing in so he gives it to Havili on his left and the fullback's in for the try in the corner.

12mins: Bosch's restart is sky high but Barrett does well to take it before Mo'unga clears and again, finds plenty of metres, sailing over the sideline inside the Sharks half.

10mins: CRUSADERS TRY - HALL: Crotty shows the ball before having a second crack at the Sharks defence after he wasn't held. They go wide to Bridge, he draws in the last defender before finding Hall on the inside and the halfback's in for the try.

8mins: Read takes in Bosch's restart before Mo'unga clears and finds plenty of distance up inside the Sharks half.

6mins: Mo'unga charges onto a Crusaders lineout over the top and the they're just 10 out. Sharks concede the penalty through du Toit for not rolling away and Mo'unga slots the easy three.

3mins: We're struggling to get the first scrum packed down with a number of resets. Finally we get movement and it's the Sharks front row that concede the penalty for angling in. 

1mins: Bosch gets us underway and it's taken in by Havili and he kicks straight away for the Sharks to counter through Bosch and du Preez.

7:34pm: Sharks being led out by skipper Ruan Botha and Tendai Mtawarira, who's playing his 150th Super Rugby game. Legend of South African rugby is the 'Beast'. Moments away from kick-off now!

7:30pm: Weather's holding for now. Possible showers later but fingers crossed. Whitelock leads out the Crusaders.

7:25pm: Can't wait for the midfield clash between Andre Esterhuizen and Ryan Crotty. The Sharks second-five is a strong ball-carrier, but has his work cut out for him tonight.

7:22pm: Both teams are near full strength so here's hoping we're in for a contest, despite what the odd-makers are suggesting.

7:20pm: Here we are. Second quarter-final of the Super Rugby playoffs and the first of tonight's double-header. Winner takes on the Canes.

Kia ora and welcome to AMI Stadium as the Crusaders take on the Sharks in the second Super Rugby quarterfinal of the 2018 playoffs.

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

Commentary will start at 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 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock (c), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Tim Perry.

Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Manasa Mataele.

Sharks
15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Ruan Botha (c), 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Wian Vosloo, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Makazole Mapimpi.

Who will play the Hurricanes in the Super Rugby semi-finals?
Who will play the Hurricanes in the Super Rugby semi-finals? Photo credit: Newshub.

Match officials
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Referees: Ben O’Keeffe, Brendon Pickerill
TMO: Shane McDermott

Previous results
26 Mar 2016 Crusaders v Sharks 19-14 Durban
04 Apr 2015 Crusaders v Sharks 52-10 Durban
26 Jul 2014 Crusaders v Sharks 38-6 Christchurch
17 May 2014 Crusaders v Sharks 25-30 Christchurch
05 Apr 2013 Crusaders v Sharks 17-21 Durban

Head-to-head
Crusaders $1.04 Sharks $9.00

Pre-match banter: Sharks determined to test Crusaders pack

Sharks captain Ruan Botha has thrown down the gauntlet ahead of their Super Rugby quarter-final against the Crusaders in Christchurch.

The team from Natal boast a better record against Kiwi opposition than most, with wins over the Blues, Chiefs and Highlanders this season, but head into Saturday's encounter as overwhelming underdogs.

Botha made no secret of where the Sharks will target the Crusaders and believes they can win the battle upfront.

"We know they have a world-class front row and world-class locks, but personally, I am of the opinion they haven’t been physically tested as a pack this season, so that is going to be a big challenge for us, he said.

"History is history, but you write your own path, and no team just rides on history. We are going there with the intention of winning, so that we can finish off this season on a high."

The Crusaders will be without injured prop, Joe Moody, but Kieran Reid's availability softens the blow in a pack that boasts seven All Blacks.

Botha conceded they would rather have avoided the defending champions so early on in the playoffs, but was confident they could rise to the challenge.

"This is not the road we wanted to go, and if we could turn back time, there are a number of games we could have won that would have made it easier for ourselves," he said.

"We know how strong the Crusaders are. They are good at keeping the ball through multiple phases, but we will back our defence.

"The one thing they’ve done well this season is to keep the ball and they also have their small mini-plays with ball in hand. We need to put them under pressure and our defence is capable of doing that," Botha added.

Former All Black Jeff Wilson has given the Sharks almost no chance of pulling off the upset.
"It's probably going to take a near-perfect performance," Wilson told RadioLIVE.

"A team will have to take every single opportunity afforded to them and the Crusaders have a night when they are not quite 100 percent at the top of their game, but that is something we have seen rarely in the last two years.

"They have built their squad beautifully with great recruiting and now they have players coming back at exactly the right time."

Newshub.

 

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