Crusaders must avoid 'soft moments'

Thu, 31 Jul 2014 12:51
Large israel dagg crusaders

PRE-MATCH BUILD-UP: The Crusaders will lean heavily on past experience when they take on the Waratahs in the Super Rugby Final on Saturday.

The Crusaders will lean heavily on past experience when they take on the Waratahs in the Super Rugby Final on Saturday.

Having played in 10 finals since 1998, the Crusaders have won seven titles - a very good strike rate.

The Waratahs, in stark contrast, have reached the Final just on two previous occasions - losing, ironically, to the Crusaders on both occasions.

The last time the Crusaders were in a Final, in 2011, they were defeated by the Reds.

That experience is being put to good use this week.

All Black captain Richie McCaw, who played against the Reds three years ago, admitted they will go back into the memory banks as they hope to avoid a repeat of the heartbreak they suffered after their globe-trotting season.

"You have to go through the process of the week, like your always do, make sure all the details - of how you are going to play - are sorted," McCaw told a media briefing in the build-up to Saturday's big showdown.

"You have to realise that when it comes down to one or two moments, the teams that are good enough to take those opportunities are the ones that win.

"If you drop your guard for one or two moments, you'll come second - that is what I have seen over the years."

Ten members of the 23-man squad that crossed the Tasman Sea this week, for Saturday's grand finale, also made the trip to Brisbane in 2011.

They have taken the lessons from that loss to heart.

"It was one or two moments in that game," McCaw said, adding: "[Will] Genia scored a try from noting really and that was the game.

"We played good rugby for a fair bit, but lost it.

"We are a totally different team, in terms of where we've come from this year and [there are] a few personnel [changes].

"We are excited about getting the opportunity and want to make the most of it."

Although the Crusaders haven't played that Tahs this season, McCaw feels there will be no real surprises.

''The coaches do a fair bit of that [analysing the Waratahs] and most of us, over this week, will have a bit of a look at it," the Crusaders flank said.

''It's more understanding that if you give them ball with space, they are a team that want to have a crack and have got some playmakers that do that. We just have to make sure we limit that.''

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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 5 2 0 3 11
Waratahs 5 2 0 3 8
Reds 4 1 0 3 6
Force 4 1 0 3 5
Rebels 4 0 0 4 1
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 5 5 0 0 21
Chiefs 4 4 0 0 19
Hurricanes 4 3 0 1 15
Blues 5 2 0 3 11
Highlanders 5 2 0 3 9
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 4 4 0 0 17
Cheetahs 4 2 0 2 9
Bulls 4 1 0 3 5
Sunwolves 5 0 0 5 1
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Jaguares 4 3 0 1 14
Lions 4 3 0 1 14
Sharks 4 3 0 1 13
Kings 4 1 0 3 5