Defence key for Crusaders

Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:22
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Crusaders scrumhalf Andy Ellis says they are focusing on improving their defence ahead of Saturday’s play-off against the Reds in Christchurch.

Crusaders scrumhalf Andy Ellis says they are focusing on improving their defence ahead of Saturday’s Super Rugby play-off against the Reds in Christchurch.

Ellis said in their analysis of their 25-17 win over the Hurricanes last Friday, the Crusaders identified the need to get their defence on par with their attack as they prepare to contain the likes of Quade Cooper and Will Genia this weekend.  

"Since the [June Test] break we've put in a couple of commanding performances but last weekend we weren't quite where we needed to be and the review has touched on those things we need to get better. One of those is defence,” said Ellis.

"If you get the attitude and `D' right the rest will flow. The boys are on edge and it's a nice feeling being in finals footy. There are only six teams left now so that's exciting and we're all in a good space."

The Reds famously beat the Crusaders 18-13 in the 2011 Final in Brisbane, but on Saturday the teams will collide at AMI Stadium, where the Crusaders boast an unbeaten record this season and have won 15 of their 16 matches since the venue was restored as the team’s permanent home ground last year.

Ellis said the team are relishing playing finals rugby in front of their home fans again and said they will look to make the most of their home ground advantage.

"It's a proud record but counts for nothing unless you win this weekend," he said.

"It will be great running on to the field. There's something special about it and creates a real atmosphere. Everyone's behind us with red-and-blacks flags everywhere and people stamping their feet on the grandstand and it's really cool to be part of it."

The veteran No.9 said they are preparing to come up against a well-rounded team.

"Right across the board they're a good side. They've got a good set piece, attacking backs who are directed well and they're coached really well. They'll come with a smart gameplan and we know we have to be on our game,” he said.

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