Crusaders' simple plan for Beauden Barrett
SUPER RUGBY SPOTLIGHT: The Crusaders are confident they can limit Beauden Barrett’s influence once again when they face the Hurricanes in Saturday’s Super Rugby semifinal in Christchurch.
Barrett did not have much of an impact during his team’s last few meetings with the Crusaders, including the Crusaders’ 32-8 win Wellington this season and the defending champions’ 30-12 win in last year’s semifinal in Christchurch.
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“If you win collisions, if you win the gain line, no matter how good you are as a 10, your time is diminished significantly And our boys have done a great job in that regard in previous campaigns,” Crusaders assistant coach Ronan O’Gara told reporters ahead of Saturday’s encounter.
“But when the ball is in Beauden Barrett’s hands, it’s not a good sign for any opposition.”
Barrett might not have had the time and space during the two teams’ last encounter, but he had a good performance in last weekend’s quarterfinal win against the Bulls and the Crusaders were watching.
There will also be a spotlight on Barrett’s contest against Richie Mo’unga, who has been in outstanding form for the Crusaders once again.
“He’s a world-class player, simple as that, and they’ve [Hurricanes] got quite a few of them across the park, said Crusaders centre Ryan Crotty.
“They’ve got quality game-breakers, x-factor right across the park. So that creates a bit of edge around the way you prepare, as well.
“We’re always diligent when we prepare for these guys because we know just how dangerous they are. That’s what a lot of this morning was about – getting our game plan and our plays, getting our clarity on that and also making sure we’re prepared for what’s coming.”
Meanwhile, prop Tim Perry is the only injury concern for the Crusaders this week.
Perry was a late withdrawal from the team that faced the Highlanders last week after he felt discomfort in the arm he broke in Round One.
The 30-year-old is set to have a scan on his left arm this week.