Crusaders have remedy for altitude challenge

Thu, 03 Aug 2017 10:07

SUPER RUGBY FINAL: The Crusaders have the players and a plan to beat the much-vaunted high altitude of Ellis Park.

At 1,750 metres above sea level, Ellis Park is notorious among visiting teams.

However, Crusaders assistant coach Brad Mooar - speaking ahead of their encounter with the Lions in the Super Rugby Final on Saturday - said they have a plan to cope with both the altitude and travel factors.

"There are always a lot of questions around Ellis Park and altitude when we come here," Mooar said in a teleconference call from the New Zealand's franchise's training base in Johannesburg.

"We have a lot of experience in the group, with people that have had success here, in the Cauldron that is Ellis Park - both with the Crusaders and the All Blacks," he added.

"To be able to call on that experience and have the world's best No.8 and All Black captain [Kieran Read] in the mix is very good for us."

He warned that it is important to ensure the Lions don't get momentum and that the Crusaders must set the tempo.

Mooar suggested the Hurricanes blew their legs - after the long flight from New Zealand - by going all out from the outset in the semifinal last week.

After racing into a 22-3 lead, the Hurricanes lost their momentum and the Lions took control in the final 10 minutes before the break.

The Johannesburg-based franchise ran the Hurricanes ragged in the second half, eventually winning 44-29.

"We are confident we have the players to shift pressure onto them and relieve pressure on us," Mooar said.

"The Lions do have a really strong final quarter," he said, adding: "It is something they work towards.

"The ability to save our legs involves how well we control the game and whether we can get our game management right.

"We must be running towards where we want to run, rather than chasing them around.

"I am sure the Lions will have their moments and we will take some pressure. It is how be rebound from those moments."


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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28