Tracey Nelson 's Opinion

Stats guru Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers

The Stats Don't Lie: Reds seek rare NZ sweep

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The Crusaders qualified for the playoffs for the 12th-straight year after a 25-17 win over the Hurricanes in Christchurch. Photo/Getty Images.
The Crusaders qualified for the playoffs for the 12th-straight year after a 25-17 win over the Hurricanes in Christchurch. Photo/Getty Images.

Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers for the Crusaders' qualifying playoff match against the Reds in Christchurch tomorrow night.

CRUSADERS v REDS (Christchurch, Referee Jaco Peyper)

These two sides have played 19 times, with the Crusaders winning 13 games and the Reds six.

The Reds have not beaten the Crusaders in New Zealand since 1999. The last time they played the Crusaders in Christchurch was last year, when the Crusaders emerged victors 15-11 in a closely fought battle.

The Reds have only made the playoff stages of Super Rugby on four occasions. The last time was 2011, when they beat the Crusaders to win the title.

The Crusaders boast 13 All Blacks (nine present and four former) while the Reds have 14 Wallabies (six present and eight former).

The Crusaders have scored 44 tries to the Reds' 31, and overall have scored 125 points more than the Queenslanders. But the Reds have a marginally better defence having conceded 296 points, while the Crusaders have conceded 307.

The Reds have the second best lineout in the competition having won 89 percent of their throws, while the Crusaders have dropped to 82 percent.

Quade Cooper is the top off-loader in the competition with 43, while Zac Guildford is the best for the Crusaders with 17.

Richie McCaw is set to make his first Super 15 appearance of 2013, having been named on the Crusaders' bench.

Matt Todd will play his 50th Super rugby match for the Crusaders - no mean feat when you wear the same jersey number as teammate McCaw.

This will be the first time Jaco Peyper has refereed the Crusaders this season, but the Reds have had him twice - in Round seven against the Highlanders in a game they won 34-33 (conceding 11 penalties), and in Round 15 against the Stormers in a game they lost 15-20 (conceding 10 penalties).

If the Reds can win this weekend they will become the first Australian side to beat all five New Zealand teams in a season. The only other team to have done this is the Stormers, who achieved it in 2010.

The Crusaders are unbeaten in Christchurch in 2013, and have never lost a home play-off.

Tracey Nelson

Stats guru Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers

Tracey Nelson is a rugby statistician who looks closely at the numbers of every Super 15 and All Blacks test to give a concise answer to which players and teams are leading the way on the field.

Read more by Tracey Nelson

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