Sunday, April 01, 2012

Crusaders have got a lot more to give - Read RICHARD KNOWLER IN JOHANNESBURG 02/04/2012

Repeat that effort and the Bulls will skewer us.
Kieran Read didn't even try to defend his side's unconvincing 23-13 win over the Lions yesterday morning, stating a week truncated by a busy travel schedule, jet lag and playing at altitude wasn't to blame for the Crusaders' sloppy effort.
The captain knows a repeat performance could result in a sticky mess against the Bulls in Pretoria on Sunday morning. Can you play like that and win at Loftus?
"No, to put it bluntly. I don't think so," Read said. "We know that and we have got a lot more in us. We are confident we can turn it around and really up our performance which is what is going to be needed.
"We have shown it in patches in the last few weeks. So we know the shifts that we need to make it into an 80-minute performance."
The Crusaders have a three-two record and after facing the Bulls have to fly back to Christchurch to meet the Stormers the following weekend.
Read, usually one of the better ball carriers, wasn't immune to making mistakes like his team-mates, losing the ball as he ran from a scrum.
It seemed to sum up the Crusaders' night and their lacklustre showing caused coach Todd Blackadder to question his side's motivation.
"We need to start better. It took a bit of attitude adjustment at halftime to get out there and show better body language, better intent," he said.
"I thought we just sat back in the first half. I thought we got bullied around the field which was disappointing."
Butch James and Tom Taylor traded penalties before Dan Carter slipped a sneaky inside ball, after dummying to his right, to put Zac Guildford into the clear for his try.
However, Lions tighthead prop Patric Cilliers contributed a try to his side's 13-10 halftime lead until the Crusaders drew clear when Sean Maitland collected Israel Dagg's grubber kick immediately after halftime.
Despite the gloomy prognosis from Read and Blackadder, the reality is the Crusaders never looked like losing.
They dominated territory in the second half to the point the Lions rarely got within sniffing distance of the posts and they were left scoreless.
It wasn't an entertaining spectacle – not by a long shot.
However, the Crusaders did their best to show they hadn't lost their desire to attack when Read demanded they spurn a shot at goal and kick for the corner and set up a lineout.
The reasoning behind the strategy was that he hadn't given up on the four-try bonus point. Instead, they got nothing and just had to settle for two tries.
Of most concern for Blackadder was how his men failed to rip into the Lions from the outset.
There was some improvement in the second spell, probably after being given a rocket by the coaches, with their tactical kicking locking the Lions inside their own half.
"We are really disappointed in the way that we started and performed tonight," Blackadder lamented. "It was really, really inaccurate."

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