Playing at home could be telling factor

The Crusaders remain year in, year out the most consistent team in Super Rugby, says Jeff...
The Crusaders will play the Hurricanes for a place in the Super Rugby final. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Two more sides will be knocked out of the 2019 Super Rugby tournament today. Sports reporter Adrian Seconi takes a glance at the semifinal match-ups.Jaguares v Brumbies

Buenos Aires, today, 11.05am

Jaguares

Record: Won 12, lost 5

Key player: Talismanic captain Agustin Creevy has a wonderful connection with lock Guido Petti and is dynamic around the field. He is also very adept and gets a sneaky little off-load away.

Game plan: The Jaguares will probe for holes later in the game when fatigue sets in. They will have strong set pieces as well.

Prospects: Will start as favourites and will be energised by a boisterous home crowd. Played some lovely attacking rugby this season.

Squad: Emiliano Boffelli, Sebastian Cancelliere, Matias Orlando, Jeronimo de la Fuente (captain), Matias Moroni, Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, Tomas Cubelli, Javier Ortega Desio, Tomas Lezana, Pablo Matera, Tomas Lavanini, Guido Petti, Santiago Medrano, Agustin Creevy, Mayco Vivas. Reserves: Julian Montoya, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Enrique Pieretto, Marcos Kremer, Francisco Gorrissen, Felipe Ezcurra, Domingo Miotti, Ramiro Moyano

Brumbies

Record: Won 11, lost 6

Key player: Captain Christian Lealiifano will be hoping for a big performance in his 150th Super Rugby game. His match-up with fellow first five-eighth Joaquin Diaz Bonilla could have a crucial impact on the game.

Game plan: Dominate the tight exchanges and look to deny the home team front-foot ball. The Jaguares got a lot more dangerous when they learned how to score tries.

Prospects: The Brumbies have strung together a franchise record seven consecutive wins but their last lost was to the Jaguares (20-15) in Argentina in April. They will have to overcome the travel factor but are capable underdogs.

Squad: Tom Banks, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Irae Simone, Toni Pulu, Christian Lealiifano (captain), Joe Powell, Lachlan McCaffrey, Tom Cusack, Rob Valetini, Sam Carter, Rory Arnold, Allan Alaalatoa, Folau Fainga'a, Scott Sio. Reserves: Connal McInerney, James Slipper, Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, Darcy Swain, Murray Douglas, Jahrome Brown, Matt Lucas, Tom Wright

Crusaders v Hurricanes

Christchurch, tonight, 7.35pm

Crusaders

Record: Won 12, lost 2, drawn 3

Key player: Locks do not get a lot of love but Sam Whitelock should. He is the heart and soul of a quality pack. He is a constant source of lineout ball and is player you can rely on in big matches.

Game plan: They are the best attacking team in the competition. But the Crusaders will look to set the platform up front first and then go wide to the likes of Sevu Reece.

Prospects: The Crusaders have not lost at home since July, 2016. They were installed as favourites early on and the nine-time champions are chasing a third consecutive title. You would not bet against them.

Squad: David Havili, Sevu Reece, Jack Goodhue, Ryan Crotty, George Bridge, Richie Mo'unga, Bryn Hall, Kieran Read, Matt Todd, Whetukamokamo Douglas, Sam Whitelock (captain), Scott Barrett, Owen Franks, Codie Taylor, Joe Moody. Reserves: Andrew Makalio, George Bower, Michael Alaalatoa, Luke Romano, Jordan Taufua, Mitchell Drummond, Mitchell Hunt, Braydon Ennor

Hurricanes

Record: Won 13, lost 3, drawn 1

Key player: Will Beauden Barrett engineer an upset? The All Black pivot can shred the best defensive line-ups in the world and will need to if the Hurricanes are going to be successful. His battle with Richie Mo'unga is always fascinating.

Game plan: Players such as Ardie Savea will need to punch holes around the fringes of the ruck so the Hurricanes can get their backs into the game.

Prospects: The Sharks showed that if the Crusaders pack can be put under pressure then they are as vulnerable as any other side. The Hurricanes certainly have the strike-power to win.

Squad: Jordie Barrett, Salesi Rayasi, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Ngani Laumape, Ben Lam, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Gareth Evans, Ardie Savea, Reed Prinsep, Isaia Walker-Leawere, James Blackwell, Jeff To'omaga-Allen, Dane Coles (captain), Toby Smith. Reserves: Asafo Aumua, Xavier Numia, Ben May, Kane Le'aupepe, Vaea Fifita, Richard Judd, James Marshall, Jonah Lowe

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