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Brace yourself for another huge NZ derby this weekend when we visit the Crusaders at AMI Stadium in Christchurch for the highly anticipated semi final of the Investec Super Rugby competition. There’s a lot on the line with a spot in the final up for grabs, where the victor will face either the Hurricanes or the Lions who will battle it out in the other semi final.

Both teams come into this game off the back of solid performances in their respective quarter finals. The Crusaders held their nerve to defeat their Southern rivals the Highlanders, with a dominating performance, winning 17-0 in wet conditions. The Gallagher Chiefs left Cape Town victors 17-11, after a bruising battle with the Stormers. The reliable boot of Damian McKenzie and a late try by Shaun Stevenson proved to be the difference and they’ll look to build on that in Christchurch.

There’s a great rivalry between the two teams with two epic semi finals played out in recent occasions that will live long in the memories of Chiefs fans. 2012 and 2013 saw the Gallagher Chiefs host the Crusaders in back to back home semi’s with the Chiefs coming out on top 20-17 and 20-19 respectively in nail biters. Co-captain Aaron Cruden played crucial roles in both games, and will be looking to assert that valuable experience on Saturday evening.

The Gallagher Chiefs have a dominant record in recent times over the Crusaders, winning eight of the last 12 matches since 2012, including three wins from their last three visits in Christchurch.

Damian McKenzie has been a constant threat in 2017, and leads the competition charts with 1565 metres from 223 carries. McKenzie has accumulated 132 points this campaign and will be looking to add to that tally tonight. Brodie Retallick has been another ever present in the forward pack. The big lock has been crucial in defence, boasting a 93.2% tackle completion rate, making over 124 tackles.

The Crusaders have a star-studded All Blacks front row, which includes Joe Moody, Codie Taylor and Owen Franks. They will lock to be dominant in the scrum and provide a platform for their exciting backline which features the likes of Ryan Crotty, Jack Goodhue, Israel Dagg and David Havili. First five-eighth Richie Mo’unga has done a great job at directing the Crusaders backline in 2017, and has managed an impressive 116 points from the 11 games he’s played.

It will be a fantastic battle come Saturday, with key match ups all over the field. The game kicks off at 7:35pm and fans will be able to tune in on Sky Sport 1. Alternatively, if you plan on travelling down to support the boys, make sure you have your tickets secured here. Get ready for it and enjoy the game, it is sure to be a cracker! 

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