Live updates: Super Rugby Pacific - Blues v Crusaders at Auckland's Eden Park

  • 23/03/2024

Click here for match wrap

Kia ora, good evening and welcome to Newshub's live coverage of the Blues v Crusaders Super Rugby Pacific at Auckland's Eden Park.

No-one would have expected the 2024 competiton to reach round five with defending champions Crusaders - who have won a Super Rugby crown in each of the past seven years under now-All Blacks coach Scott Robertson - still winless.

Their demise has been the talkingpoint of the season so far and their task gets no easier this week, as they travel north to take on archrivals Blues.

In reality, the relationship hasn't been much of a rivalry, with the Crusaders scoring 50 points in victory in last year's semifinals. They are now missing many of the players that carried them on that occasion - some to offshore contracts and others to injury.

Veteran prop Owen Franks is missing this week through suspension, while Riley Hohepa is given another chance in the No.10 jersey.

Meanwhile, the Blues will miss concussed mifielder Rieko Ioane, but have captain Patrick Tuipulotu back from injury.

Join us at 7pm for kickoff.

TAB Odds: Blues $1.40, Crusaders $3, Draw $21


Penney turns to veteran NRL coach Stuart to help end Crusaders drought

Crusaders coach Rob Penney's side is without a win in Super Rugby Pacific, but some 'crosscode' words of advice have reassured him they can turn a corner.

With the Canberra Raiders at Christchurch for their clash with NZ Warriors, Penney's been picking the brains of coach Ricky Stuart, whose own tale of overcoming adversity has inspired belief the defending champions can avoid falling into an 0-5 hole against the Blues.

"[The Raiders] were 5-1 last year and then they won 10 in a row," Penney said. "We just discussed how that turn around came about."

Penney could only dream of a similar revival for the Crusaders this year.

"It feels as though that situation and what he was talking about is the situation we're in here," he added. "There's still a lot of belief and confidence, the team is working really hard." 

That work ethic isn't translating to results. The Crusaders are trailing the pack at the moment, but while their results have dipped, their mindset hasn't.

Rob Penney and Ricky Stuart.
Rob Penney and Ricky Stuart. Photo credit: Getty Images

"It's four and zip, but they come in, they're reviewing as arduously as they were at the start of the season to get better, to get improvement," said Penney. 

He will desperately hope that improvement comes against the Blues on Saturday.

His message before that clash is a simple one.

"Don't feel sorry for yourselves, because no one else is." 

There certainly won't be much sympathy at Eden Park, if the Crusaders' losing run extends to five.