Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Read rues stifled Crusaders' attacks

Monday, 23 February 2009

Kieran Read lamented the Crusaders' inability to annex the Brumbies' territory on Saturday night and conceded it cost them dearly. Blindside flanker Read, who captained the Crusaders in the absence of the concussed Richie McCaw at Canberra Stadium, noted the Brumbies' kicking game put his side under pressure and negated much of their robust defensive work.

"They kicked well and probably caught us in some awkward positions a few times," Read admitted."We didn't quite get the territory we wanted and got caught playing in the middle of the field a little bit."

Mark Gerrard was the major weapon in the Brumbies' kicking game, the fullback often sending the Crusaders back into their own half with his booming punts into touch. While first five-eight Christian Lealiifano had a forgettable night, the experienced Gerrard's tactical nous was outstanding, preventing the Crusaders from mounting any sustained attacks inside the Brumbies quarter.

"We just couldn't hold onto the ball when we needed to and were stuck playing in the middle of the field when we had it," Read lamented."We just turned it over a few too many times to maintain the pressure."

Despite McCaw's absence, the Crusaders operated effectively at the breakdown and his replacement at openside flanker, George Whitelock, worked well with Read. But the Brumbies' George Smith again demonstrated why he is rated Australia's best No7, picking his moments to slow down ruck ball, effect steals and carry the ball although it was his crazy pass that led to Casey Laulala scoring the Crusaders first try.

Read described watching Stirling Mortlock's match-winning conversion as "pretty difficult to take"."There was a bit of devastation initially. But our defence was outstanding and you can't fault that."

No comments: