Live updates: Super Rugby Pacific - Crusaders v NSW Waratahs at Sydney's Allianz Stadium

  • 12/04/2024

Click here to refresh page

Kia ora, good evening and welcome to Newshub's live coverage of the Crusaders v NSW Waratahs Super Rugby Pacific clash at Sydney's Allianz Stadium.

After achieving their first win of the season before the bye week, the defending champions' losing start seems a long time ago now and perhaps that's a good thing, as they try to building on that initial success.

They face opponents who scored a shock win at Christchurch in round two, but have very little else to show for their campaign since.

The Crusaders have been bolstered by the return of All Blacks loose forward Ethan Blackadder and a core of other experienced players, but the line of injured still extends out the door and around the block.

After their plucky performance against the Chiefs last time out, the next wave of young talent will feel more confident about their prospects, as they try to leapfrog the next team above them on the competition ladder.

Join us at 9:30pm for kickoff.


All Blacks loose forward Blackadder returns to bolster Crusaders' Super Rugby Pacific revival

After finally bringing up their first win of the Super Rugby Pacific season, the Crusaders are taking a "tempered" approach to re-introducing All Blacks loose forward Ethan Blackadder, naming him to start in their squad to face NSW Waratahs on Friday.

The hard-charging flanker has been one of several core players missing from the champion line-up through the opening two months of the competition, as he rehabs yet another of the injuries that have plagued him through his career, this time a calf niggle.

Previously, Blackadder has charged out of the gates from any injury setback, with then-coach Scott Robertson describing him as a "caged bull" when he returned last season, but current Crusaders coach Rob Penney admits they're trying to curb his enthusiasm this time.

"We all know the qualities of Ethan," said Penney. "He's a tremendous player and adds a lot of spark around the group as well.

"We're rapt to have him back and hopefully now he can have a long run.  I think he's someone that's a bit tempered... he's obviously had some disappointments over the past 12 months with recurring injury, so I think he's trying to manage himself."

Blackadder, 29, broke into the All Blacks in 2021, but has managed only 10 tests since then, mainly due to injury. He missed the entire 2022 season with a dislocated shoulder during Super Rugby, and calf and quad injuries saw him miss most of last season.

As the All Blacks team for the Rugby World Cup was named, he suffered a calf twinge that saw him miss initial selection, but he was eventually called in a replacement for injured winger Emoni Narawa.

Ethan Blackadder in action for the All Blacks.
Ethan Blackadder in action for the All Blacks. Photo credit: Photosport

That same calf complaint has lingered into the new campaign.

"We've been ultra-cautious," confirmed Penney. "He's been really diligent, the medical staff have been really diligent... we'll just have to wait and see where that leads.

"He's a mature athlete, he knows his body really well. He's been more aware of that than anyone - the last thing he wants to have happen is another setback.

"He's been really mindful of where he's at and the progression he needs to take to get himself in the right place. I think everyone's done a great job and it's now let's see what happens in the battle,

"Hopefully, it'll progress to a repeat effort and another repeat effort and another repeat effort..."

The injury news isn't as good elswhere for the Crusaders, who also have loose forward Christian Lio-Willie back, but will have to wait a little longer for first-five Fergus Burke, who has now tweaked his calf, after recovering from an Achilles strain.