By RICHARD KNOWLER, The Press
Monday, 12 May 2008
Richie McCaw denied his men's minds were fixed on the play-offs after almost being embarrassed by the Queensland Reds.
While the desperate scrap for the remaining three Super 14 play-off spots resembles a flock of starving seagulls fighting over a potato peel, the Crusaders prepared for the Reds' match knowing they could lose that match and next weekend's fixture against the Highlanders and still qualify for a home semifinal.
Judging by the way they continually turned the ball over with sloppy passing and handling errors on Saturday night, it seemed the Crusaders already had their minds on the hurdles ahead.
It was a charge McCaw denied, saying the memories of last year's defeats to the Brumbies and Chiefs in the final two rounds, were still fresh.
"I don't think so. We talked all week that we saw it last year, if you don't keep looking at the performance each week you'll come unstuck. We wanted to go out and put a performance together we were happy with. There were still some good bits we could take out of it."
Despite hogging most of the possession and clocking up 1224 attacking metres compared to the Reds' 577, the Crusaders needed the fire and guile of replacement players Dan Carter, Ali Williams and Andy Ellis to spark them into life.
The lowly Reds, who have only won three matches this season, were not expected to trouble the Crusaders and McCaw admitted that the early try to Kade Poki and finding so much space out wide could have contributed to their concentration lapses.
"Shortcuts is probably the right word, we were over-running, we weren't urgent to the breakdown and we were chucking away balls when we had them under pressure. We didn't score the points and they got back down the other end and scored and they lifted because of that."
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Pic related to the article not published but whose link you have above -links of both articles and pic sent by You-Know-Who =)