Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Crusaders out of lives


The Crusaders have been read the riot act as the defending champions face the reality of probably needing three bonus point wins to qualify for the Super 14 playoffs.

Coach Todd Blackadder said the red and blacks have "really had a good look at ourselves" in the wake of last weekend's costly 13-20 loss to the bottom-placed Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

The Crusaders slipped to eighth with that result and need to hit back instantly against the Lions in Johannesburg this weekend before facing the Reds and Blues back in New Zealand.

"We need three wins with bonus points to qualify. It's all or nothing ... every game is a final for us," Blackadder said from the Crusaders' Durban base.
"In reflection we are bitterly disappointed with our performance against the Cheetahs but we got what we deserved. It was sub-standard."

Blackadder put the loss down to complacency and inexperience after beating the Sharks the previous week in Durban.

He said that after a promising start mistakes had crept in and the side hadn't been able to adjust again.
"It's a massive learning curve. We couldn't go back to our game plan and that's pressure for you," he said.

Blackadder said the Crusaders would have to play far better to get into the playoffs from here.
That meant being more clinical. He suggested the team was opening up their opponents but were not being ruthless enough in finishing their opportunities.

Leadership across the board was required and that would be looked at hard as they contemplated their team to play the Lions.

They had few injury worries and it was a matter of picking the best side from here in.
He didn't rule out considering experience All Blacks utility Leon MacDonald at first five-eighths.

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