Matson: Crusaders will need their 'A-Game'

Thu, 21 Jul 2016 19:37

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Crusaders will have to bring their 'A-Game' if they are to beat the Lions in their Super Rugby quarterfinal at Ellis Park on Saturday.

Crusaders assistant coach Tabai Matson, speaking to the media at the team's Gauteng base, said his team will have to put in a "complete performance" and "play to their full potential".

The two teams faced off earlier this year, when the Crusaders walked away with a high scoring 43-37 victory at Ellis Park.

This time round there is even more at stake for both teams, with a semifinal spot on the line.

Matson said the Crusaders' victory over the Lions in April will be a confidence booster coming into this clash.

However, they will still have to go out and "deliver" against the home team.

"I think, because of our recent success, we know that if we deliver an 'A-Game' we've got a really good chance," he told the media briefing.

"However, that is easier said than done at a sold out Ellis Park, against a team that's playing very good rugby and clearly the best South African team we've seen in a long time.

"So we know we are going to be put under immense pressure to deliver a good performance, but that's what play-offs are about," Matson added.

When questioned on the effect of the travel across the Indian Ocean, Matson said there are enough experienced players in the side to rise above those obstacles.

"This is Wyatt Crockett's 20th trip to South Africa," the coach said, adding: "So his ability to handle all the travel and the pressure means we are in a pretty good spot.

"Clearly it is very difficult here [at Ellis Park], because of those things you talk about, but it doesn't mean we can't deliver an A plus performance," he explained.

Matson further added that the game will be won or lost at the battle of the set-piece and the breakdown.

"We had a really good day last time out, with our counter attacks and our turnovers.

"We gave away a lot of penalties last time, so I think any time you play a play-off game with the calibre of the teams it's going to come down to a couple of moments maybe some set-piece calls it's going to be interesting."

Josh Isaacson

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