Super Rugby: Good news, bad news for Crusaders walking wounded

Ryan Crotty is part of the Crusaders walking wounded.
Ryan Crotty is part of the Crusaders walking wounded. Photo credit: Photosport

It's a case of good news-bad news for the Crusaders on the injury front.

The Super Rugby champions hope to go back-to-back on Saturday night, when they host the Lions in the 2018 final.

The Crusaders will be without flanker Jordan Taufua and hooker Seb Siataga for the clash, with both suffering broken arms during the 30-12 semi-final win over the Hurricanes last weekend.

It appeared they would also be without two other key players, with Ryan Crotty and Michael Alaalatoa leaving the field as well.

But assistant coach Brad Mooar said the latter two were looking much better than they had originally evaluated.

"It's a pretty clean bill of health otherwise," Mooar said. "Crotts [Ryan Crotty] went off, but passed his HIA test.

"Now the need is to go through the usual protocols throughout the week and make sure he is available for selection.

"He is highly valued and we love having him around. It was more a knock than concussion, but we need to work through the process and be ready if he isn't fit.

"Michael Alaalatoa went off with a sore back after a pretty brutal hit during a clean-out.

"He should be fine, as he works through the week into selection contention."

Super Rugby playoffs bracket
Super Rugby playoffs bracket.

With Siataga out, the Crusaders are wearing thin in the hooker spot, with Ben Fennell and Andrew Makalio already ruled out for the season.

Otago's Sam Anderson-Heather has been called in and is likely to earn a spot on the reserves bench, behind All Black rake Codie Taylor.

Anderson-Heather captained the New Zealand Barbarians against the Lions in 2017.

The Lions head to New Zealand in fine form having dispatched the Jaguares and Waratahs in consecutive weekends.

Losing finalists two years in a row, the South African side is at long odds to go one better in 2018, against the seemingly unbeatable Crusaders.

Mooar said there was no complacency among his charges, noting the impressive resume the Lions would bring to AMI Stadium.

"We fully respect them," Mooar said. "They finished second, won their conference and are heading here full of confidence.

"They are a real strong set-piece side, with a first-five who gets them around the park very well.

"The Lions have been highly successful in recent seasons. A third final in a row, second in New Zealand, so they have that experience to work out what they think worked well and what didn't.

"I am sure they will come here very prepared to have a go at us."

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