VIDEO: Crusaders positive ahead of Final 'replay'

Mon, 26 Mar 2018 12:25

SUPER RUGBY SPOTLIGHT: The Lions will have 'revenge' on their minds, but the Crusaders are confident ahead of the replay of the 2017 Final.

The defending-champion Crusaders headed to Johannesburg on Monday - after ending a two-match slump with a 34-14 demolition of the Bulls at the weekend - ahead of their Round Seven encounter with the Lions.

The Lions have lost two of their last three matches - squeaking past the lowly Sunwolves (40-38), sandwiched between losses to the Blues (35-38) and Jaguares (35-49).

The Crusaders, who lost just one match in 2017, stunned the Lions to win 25-17 in the Final at Ellis Park last year.

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said both sides will be "hugely motivated" for Saturday's rematch.

"It is a great game, a great occasion and a great stadium," Robertson said, adding:  "That is what people look for."

He said they will "revisit"  emotions of victory in the Final, but we still have to perform on Saturday to get the same result.

"They [the Lions] will definitely be up for it," the Crusaders coach said.

He said last year's success will count for nothing this week.

"It was satisfying [winning the 2017 title], but this is a new year.

"We are doing it differently this year. We have a new group.

"There have been a few different challenges for us along the way [and it has] been some good lessons for us."

Robertson said the team will gain confidence from their bonus-point win over the Bulls this past weekend - which came after losses to the Highlanders (17-25) and Hurricanes (19-29).

"It [the victory over the Bulls] keeps us in the game [play-off race].

"However, you got to put those defeats in context. [They were] two away derby matches."

He said there were a couple of moments in the games that were 'controversial'.

"We worked really hard and we just want to get positive this week.

"We want to put in a disciplined and enjoyable performance.

"We are heading to a stadium where we had a great Final [last year]."

They departed on Monday, New Zealand time, and with it being a Sunday game in South Africa, they still have a seven-day build-up.

However, they have a tight schedule the next week when there are only five days to build up to their game against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires.

Crusaders squad:

Forwards: Tim Perry, Wyatt Crockett, Chris King, Michael Alaalatoa, Oliver Jager, Codie Taylor, Ben Funnell, Sam Whitelock, Scott Barrett, Quinten Strange, Luke Romano, Matt Todd, Jordan Taufua, Tom Sanders, Heiden Bedwell-Curtis.

Backs: Mitchell Drummond, Bryn Hall, Mitchell Hunt, Mike Delany, Tim Bateman, Ryan Crotty, Jack Goodhue, Braydon Ennor, Seta Tamanivalu, Manasa Mataele, George Bridge, David Havili.


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Fri, 27 April 2018
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 18h45 Welford Road
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Kings v Cheetahs 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 14h00 Sandy Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 14h00 Sixways
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
Connacht v Leinster 14h05 Sportsground
Dragons v Scarlets 14h05 Rodney Parade
Bulls v Highlanders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Treviso v Zebre 16h00 Stadio Monigo
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 16h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Ulster 16h35 Thomond Park
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Myreside
Sun, 29 April 2018
London Irish v Saracens 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Wasps v Northampton Saints 14h00 Ricoh Arena
Sun, 22 April 2018
Racing Metro v Munster 27 | 22
Brumbies v Jaguares 20 | 25
Sat, 21 April 2018
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
Zebre v Ospreys 37 | 14
Sharks v Stormers 24 | 17
Leinster v Scarlets 38 | 16
Bulls v Rebels 28 | 10
Reds v Chiefs 12 | 36
Crusaders v Sunwolves 33 | 11
Fri, 20 April 2018
Waratahs v Lions 0 | 29
Blues v Highlanders 16 | 34
Sun, 15 April 2018
Saracens v Bath 41 | 6
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs 5 | 45
Sat, 14 April 2018
Leinster v Treviso 15 | 17
Kings v Cardiff Blues 12 | 45
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 8 5 1 2 24
Rebels 87 4 0 4 21
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 15
Reds 8 3 0 5 13
Sunwolves 8 0 0 8 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 6 0 2 29
Hurricanes 7 6 0 1 27
Chiefs 8 6 0 2 26
Highlanders 7 5 0 2 24
Blues 8 2 0 6 12
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 6 0 3 30
Bulls 8 4 0 4 19
Sharks 9 3 1 5 18
Jaguares 9 4 0 5 16
Stormers 9 3 0 6 14