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Live updates: Super Rugby Trans-Tasman - Crusaders v Western Force at Christchurch's Orangetheory Stadium

Join us at 7pm as the Crusaders look to keep themselves in contention for their sixth straight title.

Crusaders Credits: Image - Photosport; Video - Newshub

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Crusaders 29 Force 21

Crusaders - Mataele, 2 Jordan, Douglas, Havili tries; Burke 2 conversions

Force - Pulu, Callan, Olowofela tries; Miotti 3 conversions

80 mins - Try Force to Jordan Olowofela 

The Crusaders win the scrum against the feed to set up one final attacking opportunity. After five phases, the Force turn the ball over and counter-attack down to halfway with Kahui making a strong run.

The visitors get fast ball and Godwin shows great vision and puts a long kick downfield for Jordan Olowofela to uses his speed to beat McKay and score a try to stop the Crusaders from getting a bonus point. 

Miotti converts the try and that is full time. (CRU 29-21)

78 mins  

The Crusaders are looking to finish the job with a try as Fainga'anuku makes a strong run up to the 22. At the next phases, Drummond fires a forward pass to end their promising attack. 

76 mins  

The Force are struggling to make any ground with their attack as they have been forced back to halfway. After 11 phases the Force knock the ball on to end their attack. 

75 mins  

The Force look to attack from the scrum through their backs and Havili catches Kahui high to give away a penalty. The Force will have a lineout on the 10-metre line.  

73 mins  

The Crusaders are building their attack just short of halfway but after six phases, Douglas has knocked the ball on in contact. The Force will have a scrum on halfway.  

72 mins  

The Force just can't turn their pressure into points. After five phases of more attack deep inside the Crusaders 22, the home side wins a breakdown penalty. The Crusaders will have a lineout just short of halfway. 

71 mins  

The Crusaders have made a meal of their attack with Drummond putting a terrible box kick up that causes his players to be offside. The Force will have a lineout just inside the 22. 

At the set-piece, the Crusaders give away a free-pick and the Force will have a scrum. 

69 mins  

As the Crusaders carry out from their own end, the Force rip the ball clear to win possession back. After five phases, the Crusaders win a breakdown penalty through Drummond and the home side will have a lineout on the 10-metre line. 

68 mins  

From the scrum, Miotti fires a wide pass to Olowofela who drops it into touch to ease the pressure.  

66 mins 

The Crusaders give away another penalty and the referee has put the home side on a team warning for repeated infringements. The Force choose to take another scrum. 

64 mins 

The Force set the rolling maul but the Crusaders defend it well and cause the visitors into picking and going. The home side are defending incredible well and force the visitors back to the 22. 

Strachan makes a break to go five metres short but after 18-phases the attack comes to nothing but the referee was playing advantage and the Force choose to take a scrum. 

61 mins 

The Force win a penalty for offside and they will have a lineout five metres out as they hunt a try to get them right back into this contest. 

60 mins 

The Force continues to have the upper hand at scrum time and they win a penalty to give them a lineout just past halfway. 

58 mins 

The Force have a scrum just short of the 22 and it gets messy but the referee allows play to continue. Drummond does well to tackle Cubelli behind the advantage line and the Crusaders win a breakdown penalty. They will have a lineout just short of the 22. 

From the lineout, Mataele looks to hit the ball up but he's put down a simple pass. 

56 mins 

The Force go close to grabbing their third try of the evening. Miotti fires a great wide pass out to Kuridrani who produces a nice wrap around pay with Strachan who finds space out wide to go inches short. The next phase, sees Godwin held up over the line and it will be a goal-line dropout.  

54 mins 

The Force are building their attack just short of the 22, but after seven phases it comes to nothing and the referee awards a penalty. The visitors will have a lineout 10-metres out. 

52 mins 

From the lineout, the Crusaders look to build their attack but Fainga'anuku, has caused obstruction and the Force will have a lineout just short of the home sides 22. 

51 mins 

It looks like Jordan has a hat-trick off the back of a huge error from the Force. Jordan unleashes a huge punt downfield to Strachan. He fires an average pass to Miotti who spills it.

Douglas picks it up and passes to Jordan to score but TMO has spotted that Strachen had a foot in touch when he fired the bad pass so it's no try. 

48 mins - Crusaders try Will Jordan 

The Crusaders set the rolling maul with the backs joining to help out but the Force does well to hold it up inches short. Hall manages to get the ball back and fires a cut-out pass to Jordan who runs into a big hole to score. 

Burke can't convert the try. (CRU 29-14)

46 mins

The Crusaders are building their attack on halfway with Willaims making a strong run past halfway. After eight phases, the home side wins a breakdown penalty and will have a lineout five metres out. 

43 mins

What a start from the Force as Tomas Cubelli puts a high kick up. Jordan looks to let it bounce into touch but it gets a bad bounce and Kuridrani, gathers and sprints into the 22.

After 19-phases, Miotti delivers a scintillating pass to put Olowofela but the pass was forward. The referee was playing advantage and the Force will have a lineout five metres out.

40 mins - The Crusaders get the second half underay. Tom Sanders has come on for Cullen Grace

40+2 mins - Try Crusaders to Sione Havili

Taylor taps and goes to start the Crusaders attack. After Taylor goes short, Sione Havili smashes his way over for a try.

Burke converts the try and that is halftime. (CRU 24-14)

40+1 mins 

The Crusaders have one final attacking opportunity with a maul just five metres out. The Force do well to stop the maul forcing the home side to pick and go. After six phases, Tamaiti Williams looks like he has crashed over but the referee has gone upstairs. 

Replays shows Williams has lost the ball as he tries to ground it but the referee was playing advantage and the Crusaders have a penalty. 

40 mins 

The Force win a penalty on their 10-metre line and they will have one final attacking opportunities. The television match official is looking at foul play from the Crusaders. The TMO finds that Kyle Godwin has caused a neck-roll on David Havili to reverse the penalty. 

The impressive Toni Pulu has gone off with a bad ankle injury. 

39 mins 

The Force have turned the tables at scrum time to win another penalty and kick for touch to ease the pressure. 

They will have a lineout on the 10-metre line. 

37 mins 

Taylor takes the quick tap and continues to pile pressure on the Force. After four phases, the Crusaders find Mataele in a lot of space and he scores in the corner. 

Referee Ben O'Keeffe has gone upstairs to look at a knock-on and replays show Hall has dropped the ball at a ruck to disallow the try. 

35 mins 

The Crusaders are looking to hit back straight away and they are attacking just short of the Force line. After six phases the attack comes to nothing but the referee was playing advantage and awards the Crusaders a penalty. 

34 mins - Try Force to Ollie Callan

The Force have hit back. The visitors are building their attack and after eight phases, Fergus Lee-Warner breaks a tackle and go inches short. At the next phase, the visitors get fastball and Ollie Callan crashes over. 

Miotti converts the try. (CRU 17-14)

31 mins

Jordan looks to attack straight from the kickoff and breaks one tackle before offloading to Williams but Mitchell Dunshea has obstructed to give away a penalty. The visitors will have a lineout seven metres out. 

29 mins Try Crusaders to Whetukamokamo Douglas

The Crusaders set a rolling maul just seven metres from the Force line. It goes inches short before the visitors collapse it and sees Whetukamokamo Douglas break off the back to crash over. 

Burke can't convert the try. (CRU 17-7)

26 mins 

The Force are building their attack just short of the Crusaders 22. After five phases, the home side win a breakdown penalty for the Force holding onto the ball. The Crusaders will have a lineout on halfway.

23 mins 

The Crusaders have a lineout on their own 22 and it starts rolling up field. It gets to the 10-metre line before Michael Alaalatoa comes free and re-attaches to the maul to cause accidental offside. 

The Force will have a scrum on the home sides 10-metre line. The Force produce their best scrum of the day to win a penalty and will have a lineout 15-metres out. 

21 mins - Try Crusaders to Will Jordan

The Crusaders go back to back to put them in front. The home side comes wide, with Burke and Fainga'anuku showing great quick hands to put Jordan in space down the left wing. He has too much pace and he scores in the corner. 

Burke can't convert the try. (CRU 12-7)

17 mins

The Crusaders continued to assert their dominance at scrum time and win a penalty. They will have a lineout on the Force 22. 

15 mins - Try Crusaders to Manasa Mataele

The Crusaders look to counter-attack from a poor kick from Miotti and sees Ennor run over the top of Kahui. At the next phase, thehome side turn the ball over and the Force build their attack just short of halfway. 

Kane Koteka takes the ball to the line but Whetukamokamo Douglas rips it clear and immediately fires it wide to Ennor. He grubbers in behind and Manasa Mataele has too much pace to score. 

Burke converts the try. (7-7) 

12 mins 

The Crusaders are building their attack just short of the 22 but the Force defence is holding firm. The home side gets their backs involved but good line speed from Tomas Cubelli has forced an error from Havili.  

10 mins 

The Force are building their attack off the back of the lineout, but Miotti delivers a forward pass to end the attack. The Crusaders will have a scrum just short of halfway. 

The Force give away a penalty at the scrum and the Crusaders will have a lineout just short of the 22. 

8 mins 

From the lineout, the Crusaders illegal collapse the maul to give away the penalty and the Force will have a lineout on the home sides 10-metre line.

7 mins 

The Crusaders are looking to build their attack just short of halfway. At the breakdwon, the visitors win a penalty and will have a lineout just short of the 22. 

From the lineout, they come wide to Jordan who offloads in the tackle but there is no one outisde of him and it rolls into touch. 

5 mins - Try Force to Toni Pulu

What a sensation try from the Force. The visitors come wide to Kahui who shows great quick hands to offload to Pulu. He uses his footwork to beat two defenders to break free and have too much pace to score in the corner. 

Domingo Miotti has nailed the conversion. (FOR 7-0)

2 mins 

Manasa Mataele gobbles up a high kick from Hall and makes progress down to halfway. At the next phase, Havili puts a poor kick in and sees Strachan claim the mark. He clears the ball into touch on the 10-metre line. 

From the lineout, the home side takes the ball to the line but the Force win a breakdown penalty. 

Kickoff - The Western Force will get the contest underway. 

7:03pm - Scott Barrett has led the Crusaders out onto a dry Orangetheory Stadium. We should be in for a great game of rugby. 

6:53pm - We are just 12-minutes from kickoff and it's a big night for Fergus Burke who is making his first start in the Crusaders No.10 jersey. 

Kia ora and welcome to Newshub's live coverage of the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman clash between the Crusaders and the Western Force from Christchurch's Orangetheory Stadium.

The Crusaders come into this contest on a four game winning streak as they hunt their sixth consecutive Super Rugby title.

But the home side will need a victory here to keep them in touch with the leaders - the Blues and Hurricanes - who sit on a perfect 15 points from their opening three games. 

The Crusaders will do so without a handful of key players for this critical clash, with All Blacks trio Richie Mo'unga, Sam Whitelock and Sevu Reece all rested. 

The 'Red and Blacks' started the trans-Tasman competition with a nervy two-point victory over the Brumbies, before asserting their authority with a thumping win over the Reds.In their last outing, they ran in a half century of points over the Waratahs across the ditch.

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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.

TAB odds:

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

Pre-match banter:

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.

Nehe Milner-Skudder in action for the All Blacks
Nehe Milner-Skudder in action for the All Blacks Photo credit: Getty

The Taihape native was outstanding during the New Zealand's victorious World Cup run in 2015, while he also featured in the Hurricanes' only Super Rugby title in 2016.

Milner-Skudder signed for Toulon in 2018, but didn't play a game due to prolonged recovery from a shoulder injury suffered playing for the All Blacks in 2017.

The three-time Maori All Black was part of the Highlanders squad for Super Rugby in 2020, but only played one game. 

During a 2020 interview with Ardie Savea, Milner-Skudder admitted he was forced into "some dark places" when injuries wrecked his once promising international career.

"It’s been a long, long time working my way back from that," Milner-Skudder told Savea on his self-titled podcast.

"I had my first shoulder [injury] back in 2016, so the last four years have been up and down with injuries - getting back from rehab, getting out on the field with setback after setback.

"At the same time, as a lot of people say, the adversity you go through in those struggles allows you to grow as a person. I’m not saying it doesn’t suck and I didn’t go to some dark places.

"I felt the weight and the heaviness of not being able to get out there with the brothers, but I feel like I have come out of these tough times with a better understanding of myself and it’s put things into perspective."

Skudder has played 50 games for Manawatu in provincial rugby.

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