Razor: 'They're tough and they're brutal'
SUPER RUGBY SPOTLIGHT: New Zealand’s Crusaders and Argentina’s Jaguares are preparing for a showdown that will be a clash of Test-match proportions in Christchurch on Saturday.
The Crusaders – aiming for a third consecutive title – were made to fight all the way against the Hurricanes, before prevailing 30-26 in Christchurch at the weekend.
The Jaguares, in contrast, made light work of dismissing the Brumbies 39-7 in Buenos Aires.
The Crusaders and Jaguares did not face each other during the regular season this year, but Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said they know what to expect after the Argentinians beat the Hurricanes 28-20 in Wellington in Week 14 – back in May.
“We did a little bit of homework,” Robertson said, adding: “We were expecting to play them.
“We were a few days ahead on it, as you do, you’re always planning.
“They’re tough and they’re brutal.
“When they toured, we got a good feeling of how good they can be,” Robertson added.
“At the breakdown, the physicality they bring, they’ve got enough Test players in their team to understand how to play at the highest level and [deal with] pressure moments.
“It’s going to be another hell of a match for us.”
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Jaguares coach Gonzalo Quesada admitted he would have preferred to face the Hurricanes in the Final, as the game would have been in Buenos Aires, but said he has been preparing his squad to face the Crusaders.
“The Crusaders base their game on a great scrum and solid defence – apart from other qualities.,” Quesada said.
“We have been working very hard on those aspects of our game,” he added.
“The result [against the Brumbies] was spectacular.
“I believe that we are on the right track with respect to our objectives and, in some way, with the dream we set ourselves on the first day.”
The final will be a shadow Test between New Zealand and Argentina – with the Jaguares including 14 Pumas in their run-on side against the Brumbies, while the Crusaders fielded 13 All Blacks.
Robertson, who played for the red-and-blacks when they first won three Super finals in a row between 1998-2000, believes the Final will come down to the top two inches.
“It is the mental side for us now,” he said.
“To be really clear in what we’re going to do game-tactic wise, and then get excited.
“It is a pretty special opportunity for a lot of us guys.
“We will get through so we’re in the best physical nick as we possibly can and, more importantly, our mental condition to have a great night on Saturday,” Robertson said, adding the team would not do any hard training runs this week.
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