Crusaders relish 'must-win' scenario

Wed, 11 Jul 2012 10:19
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The seven-time champion Crusaders, one of six teams battling for four play-off spots, are comfortable at being in a 'must-win' scenario.

The seven-time champion Crusaders, one of six teams battling for four remaining sports in the play-offs, are comfortable at being in a 'must-win' scenario.

The table-topping Chiefs (also the New Zealand champions) and the South African conference winners, the Stormers, have already booker their play-off spots.

However, the Brumbies (currently heading the Aussie conference), Crusaders, Bulls, Sharks, Reds and Hurricanes are chasing the remaining places in the Super Rugby competition's knock-out stages in the final round of league action this weekend.

Only three competition points currently separate the Crusaders in fourth place and the Hurricanes in eighth place, so where teams end up on the table will be dependent on not just their own performances but also on other round 18 results.

The Crusaders could finish anywhere from fourth to eighth in the standings at the end of the regular season.

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder admitted the importance of making sure his teem keep up their record of not having missed the play-offs in 10 years.

"The temptation at this stage of tournament is to start looking too far ahead," Blackadder said.

"[The] play-offs are just around the corner, and it is easy for players and coaches to start thinking about what lies ahead instead of what is directly in front of us.

"That is a grave mistake to make, so I have made it very clear to the team this week that there is just one focus for the week - and that is the Force game [this coming Saturday].  

"If we are thinking about what may or may not happen the week after, then we have become complacent about what might happen this week.

"And we know what happens when we let complacency slip in, we have demonstrated it in a couple of our losses this season.

"We are certainly capable of winning against the Force, but there is no room to let our foot off the pedal this weekend if we want to ensure a qualifier spot," Blackadder added.

Crusaders CEO Hamish Riach also spoke of the importance for the Crusaders to win in Christchurch on Saturday to ensure the team gets a home quarterfinal.

"The Crusaders team, support staff and supporters have so enjoyed having Super Rugby games back in Christchurch this year at the new AMI Stadium in Addington, and none of us would like to believe that this weekend's game will be the final home game of this season," Riach said.

"However, if we are to get the opportunity of a quarter final at our new home stadium, the team will need all of the support we can give them this weekend," Riach added.

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Fri, 27 May 2016
Hurricanes v Highlanders 07h35 Wellington
Waratahs v Chiefs 09h40 Sydney
Boland v Eagles 13h00 Wellington
Free State Cheetahs v Pumas 13h00 Bloemfontein
Kings v Jaguares 17h00 Ascoli Piceno
Border v Falcons 17h00 East London
Sat, 28 May 2016
Blues v Crusaders 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Sunwolves 09h40 Canberra
Western Province v Griquas 10h15 Newlands
Blue Bulls v Leopards 12h15 Loftus Versfeld
Stormers v Cheetahs 13h00 DHL Newlands
Namibia v Griffons 13h00 Windhoek
Golden Lions v EP Kings 13h00 Johannesburg
Saracens v Exeter Chiefs 14h00 London
Bulls v Lions 15h05 Loftus Versfeld
Leinster v Connacht 16h30 Edinburgh
Sun, 29 May 2016
Rebels v Force 06h05 Melbourne
England v Wales 14h00 London
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 11 6 0 5 30
Brumbies 11 7 0 4 29
Rebels 10 5 0 5 23
Reds 13 3 1 9 16
Force 11 2 0 9 11
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Chiefs 11 9 0 2 42
Crusaders 11 9 0 2 41
Highlanders 11 8 0 3 37
Hurricanes 11 7 0 4 36
Blues 11 6 1 4 29
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Bulls 11 7 1 3 32
Stormers 11 6 1 4 32
Cheetahs 11 3 0 8 16
Sunwolves 11 1 1 9 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 11 8 0 3 37
Sharks 12 7 1 4 35
Jaguares 11 2 0 9 13
Kings 11 1 0 10 4