VIDEO: Crusaders' friend now a foe

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 12:40

SUPER rugby spotlight: John Tabaiwalu Fakavale Matson is a familiar face in Christchurch. However, this week the 'welcome' might not be so friendly.

The defending-champion Crusaders host the Chiefs in what will be a spicy all-New Zealand derby - the second round of the 2018 season.

Matson, who played 58 times for Canterbury and 25 times for Crusaders, was also the Canterbury head coach (2012) and Crusaders assistant coach (2013 to 2016), before a stint with Bath in the English Premiership.

He is part of the new era at the Chiefs - an assistant to new head coach Colin Cooper - who has been appointed as head coach of the Super Rugby team on a three-year term, succeeding Dave Rennie, who departed at the end of the 2017 season to coach in
Glasgow, Scotland.

Cooper has brought in some new assistants - Matson, Neil Barnes, Andrew Strawbridge and Carl Hoeft.

Crusaders assistant coach Brad Mooar, speaking to the media ahead of Saturday's season-opener in Christchurch, said they are a "massive challenge".

"The Chiefs and Crusaders have had some massive battles over the last few years," Mooar said.

"[They are] big derby games that both teams get up for - very physical battles."

However, it is when he starts speaking about the new coaches that he reveals much about what they expect.

"Colin Cooper is a very experienced coach and he brought in Tabai Matson, who is a really good 'friend' of ours," Mooar said.

"He has his first game back in Super Rugby for a couple of years and it happens to be in Christchurch.


"Colin Cooper does bring a really calm demeanour and confidence. There is also huge experience - there is not much that has gone on, on the rugby field that he hasn't seen."

He said the game will be a great occasion in a number of aspects.

"We do respect what the Chiefs can bring," the Crusaders assistant said, adding: "They are still playing a really exciting, expansive game.

"Their counter-attack is really dangerous and that is in their DNA.

"Damian [McKenzie] is really dangerous from broken play and he is always going to be.

"They have some very good and exciting players. [And their] forward pack is as tough as teak ."


There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 23 March 2018
Crusaders v Bulls 06h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sharks 08h45 Melbourne
Connacht v Edinburgh 19h35 Sportsground
Dragons v Cheetahs 19h35 Rodney Parade
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 19h35 Scotstoun
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 19h45 Recreation Ground
Sat, 24 March 2018
Sunwolves v Chiefs 04h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Highlanders 06h35 Wellington
Kings v Treviso 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
London Irish v Gloucester 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Harlequins 15h00 London
Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors 15h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Stormers v Reds 15h15 Newlands
Cardiff Blues v Ulster 15h15 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Scarlets 17h30 Thomond Park
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 17h30 Kingston Park
Ospreys v Leinster 19h35 Liberty Stadium
Jaguares v Lions 19h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sun, 25 March 2018
Leicester Tigers v Wasps 15h00 Welford Road
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Rebels 4 3 0 1 15
Waratahs 4 2 1 1 10
Reds 3 2 0 1 8
Brumbies 4 2 0 2 8
Sunwolves 4 0 0 4 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Highlanders 3 3 0 0 13
Hurricanes 3 2 0 1 10
Crusaders 4 2 0 2 10
Chiefs 3 2 0 1 8
Blues 4 1 0 3 6
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 5 4 0 1 19
Stormers 5 2 0 3 9
Sharks 4 1 1 4 9
Bulls 4 1 0 3 5
Jaguares 4 1 0 3 4