Crusaders vs Moana Pasifika Prediction: Crusaders clinging to top-eight hope

 | Thursday 30th May 2024, 10:54am

Thursday 30th May 2024, 10:54am

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The Crusaders have left it late, but a shock win over the Blues last time out means they go into Friday morning’s game (08:05, Sky Sports Action) against Moana Pasifika with a chance of still finishing in the Super Rugby Pacific top eight. Having won the title last season, the Crusaders have been woeful for much of their title defence so far and sit down in 10th place in the standings with just three wins from 13 games.

Collecting bonus points has kept them in the picture for the finals, and they sit two points behind a Fijian Drua side that hosts the Melbourne Rebels in their last game of the regular season. The Crusaders will need the Rebels to do them a favour on Saturday against Drua, but as for Friday, the Christchurch outfit must only focus on landing a bonus-point win over Moana.

Crusaders vs Moana Pasifika Betting Tips

  • Crusaders -30 handicap @ 11/10
  • 71 or more total points @ 23/10

Team News

Friday could be the last Crusaders game for 35-year-old loosehead prop Joe Moody if his side doesn’t finish in the top eight.

Moody, who will be out of contract at the end of the campaign, hopes to keep his season going for a few weeks longer.

Centre David Havili was injured against the Blues and misses out, while Ryan Crotty has been named at inside centre.

Sevu Reece has been replaced on the left wing by Macca Springer, while in the forwards, skipper Scott Barrett is again unavailable due to a back injury.

As for Moana, head coach Tana Umaga has made minimal changes from the side that beat the woeful Waratahs 27-12 last time out in Auckland.

Former Australia prop Sekope Kepu will start at prop in what could be his final match before retiring at the age of 38.

Match Odds

As such heavy favourites, there is no option to back the Crusaders in the match betting market.

Moana are 18/1 to cause a major shock at Apollo Projects Stadium, while a draw on Friday is available at 28/1.

Crusaders -30 handicap @ 11/10

Moana have their own faint hopes of finishing in the top eight but in truth this looks set to be a heavily one-sided affair.

The Auckland outfit have only won one of their 21 Super Rugby Pacific matches against other clubs from New Zealand.

The Crusaders have won 10 of their last 12 games at Apollo Projects Stadium and will be expecting a big score to land the much-needed bonus point.

Overcoming the -30 handicap should be no issue for a rampant Crusaders side here.

71 or more total points @ 23/10

Given this should be a game with plenty of tries, over 71 or more total points is certainly worth considering at a good price here.

If the hosts get off to a flying start, the Moana side might start to lose their heads, as their season looks set to end before the finals.

Moana should still have their moments in attack and can get tries to boost the total points in Friday’s showdown.

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