Thursday, April 05, 2012

Crusaders urged to play smart against Bulls  RICHARD KNOWLER  05/04/2012

A flashback to 2009 is enough to remind Ryan Crotty what happens when a team deviates from its game plan.
Crotty's last outing at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, against the Bulls was when the Crusaders travelled to South Africa for their Super semifinal; an outing that ended unhappily when they were smacked 36-23 after leading 20-7 midway through the first half.
The turning point came when Jared Payne chip-kicked – a tactic the Crusaders were wary about – and a flying Pierre Spies collected the ball to run 60m to score a decisive try.
That was the last time Crotty had played at Loftus but he will return in the No12 jersey after being selected to start ahead of Tom Taylor.
"It is just about being a bit smarter in the kicking duel, I think," Crotty said. "They are quite good at their tactical kicking and we have to be pretty smart in the way we counter that."
The Bulls are expected to use first five-eighth Morne Steyn to kick deep and attempt to force the Crusaders to make errors so they can continue to compress them with their attack or kick penalties.
"It is just being smart in not giving them opportunities in our half and really playing down the right end of the field and using the altitude to our advantage," Crotty added.
But he also warned if the Crusaders could snaffle turnover ball – which statistics show is generated more by counter-rucking this season than fetchers winning it – they would not be afraid to keep the ball in hand.
"We just have to get better at executing our turnover ball.e
"We have talked a lot this week about being the first Crusaders team to go undefeated on tour and that would be a massive achievement because the last time we did that [in 2008] we went on to win the competition."

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