The Force have had two strong performances at home to start the competition. They suffered a one point loss to the Chiefs in the opening round before going down by 10 to the Highlanders.
In their first trip across the Tasman since 2017 – after they were dropped from the competition when Australia were reduced to four teams – they were easily defeated by the Hurricanes in Napier.
This match-up tends to be a tight affair, excluding the Crusaders 53 point whitewash back in 2007 – the average winning margin is 9.3 points over the previous 10 matches.
The Crusaders hold the wood over the Force with six victories to the Perth sides two, but there have also been two 23 all draws.
The Force are yet to taste victory in Christchurch with a draw in 2009 as close as they have come.
Crusaders $1.01 Force $15.00
Crusaders: 1-Tamaiti Williams, 2-Codie Taylor, 3-Michael Alaalatoa, 4-Scott Barrett (c), 5-Mitchell Dunshea, 6-Whetukamokamo Douglas, 7-Sione Havili, 8-Cullen Grace, 9-Bryn Hall, 10-Fergus Burke, 11-Leicester Fainga’anuku, 12-David Havili, 13-Braydon Ennor, 14-Manasa Mataele, 15-Will Jordan.
Reserves: 16-Nathan Vella, 17-Isileli Tu’ungafasi, 18-Oliver Jager, 19-Luke Romano, 20-Tom Sanders, 21-Mitchell Drummnd, 22-Dallas McLeod, 23-Josh McKay
Force: 1-Tom Robertson, 2-Feleti Kaitu’u, 3-Santiago Medrano, 4-Jeremy Thrush, 5-Sitaleki Timani, 6-Fergus Lee-Warner, 7-Kane Koteka, 8-Ollie Callan, 9-Tomas Cubelli, 10-Domingo Miotti, 11-Richard Kahui, 12-Kyle Godwin (c), 13-Tevita Kuridrani, 14-Toni Pulu, 15-Jake Strachan
Reserves: 16-Andrew Ready, 17-Angus Warner, 18-Greg Holmes, 19-Ryan McCauley, 20-Tim Anstee, 21-Ian Prior, 22-Jack McGregor, 23-Jordan Olowofela
Milner-Skudder to play for East Coast in pre-season hit-out
2015 Rugby World Cup star Nehe Milner-Skudder will line up for Ngāti Porou East Coast in a pre-season game this weekend.
The former All Blacks flyer has been named at fullback for Saturday’s run out against Poverty Bay in Ruatorea.
East Coast is coached by fellow former international Hosea Gear, who is also a former member of Super Rugby’s Hurricanes.
30-year-old Milner-Skudder has barely played since a standout 13-test stint with the All Blacks ended in 2018.
Live updates: Super Rugby Trans-Tasman – Crusaders v Western Force at Christchurch’s Orangetheory Stadium