Thursday, May 21, 2009

Crusaders start as underdogs in quest to secure all NZ final

Under the hot African sun on barren fields where grass struggles to grow the Crusaders are preparing to face the Bulls in completely foreign conditions compared to Christchurch right now.

Lock Brad Thorn is on light duties as he battles to overcome his hamstring injury.

“Ah he's fairly good, he didn't play on the weekend of course but we bought him away expecting him to be right and at the moment he's looking really good,” said Crusaders’ coach Todd Blackadder.

Thorn will need to be good against the world’s top locking combination of Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield, the engine room of a team with few weaknesses.

“You know the Bulls have every reason to be confident and that’s what semi-final rugby is all about,” said Blackadder.

The Crusaders appeared to have travelled well and won't be looking to those time old excuses of jetlag and playing at altitude on the High Veldt.

“You can't use it as an excuse so it won't really be talked about we've just gotta make sure we get plenty of sleep because there’s no excuses when the whistle goes on Saturday night,” said Crusaders’ captain Richie McCaw.

“Typically though, home advantage counts for almost everything in Super rugby semi-finals with the Bulls preparing just a stones’ throw from their beloved Loftus ground.

But they are wary of the Crusaders’ late surge.

“Yeah they always look like they start slow then they come through at the end of the competition but we need to concentrate on ourselves and we're very happy with the way we played in the last few weeks,” said Matfield.

But as underdogs it's the Crusaders with nothing to lose as they look to secure an all New Zealand final.

3 News

No comments: