Todd hails Crusaders scrum
Cape Town – Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder hailed his side’s scrumming as “unbelievably awesome” after Saturday’s emphatic 29-10 Super Rugby semi-final victory over the Stormers at Newlands.
“We decided two years ago we really wanted to take pride in our set-piece and it has been constant hard work to get where we are today. I think all of the front-rowers have played their part and Dave Hewett (assistant coach) has done a great job,” said Blackadder.
The Crusaders’ pack spearheaded the victory and their dominance in the scrums reached frightening proportions. The same front-row combination – Wyatt Crockett, Corey Flynn and Own Franks – have this year also had the upper hand over the Sharks’ Springbok combination of Tendai Mtwarira, Bismarck du Plessis and Jannie du Plessis.
“Obviously the guys know that set-piece pressure is critical in these big games,” said Blackadder.
“Our lineout defence was also outstanding. We put a lot of pressure on the Stormers’ ball and it just shows in these big games how important that is. But the scrum is huge. It’s a real strength of ours.”
However, if the Crusaders of 2011 will be remembered for anything, it’s their character. They have not even been able to play a home game in Christchurch this year and indications are that the AMI Stadium is going to be written off following permanent damage inflicted by earthquakes.
Yet the whole episode has instilled a positive attitude in the Crusaders for away games and Blackadder jokingly referred to them as the “Traveling Wilburys”.
This week they hit the road for Brisbane and they will stay there for the week rather than succumb to the temptation of first flying back home.
“We will spend the week in Brisbane,” Blackadder confirmed. “The guys are excited. The reason you work so hard is to be able to get these opportunities. We know how to travel and prepare for matches like this. It won’t be a problem,” said Blackadder.
The Crusaders will be playing in their 10th final on Saturday. They have won seven titles and finished runners-up twice.
Blackadder himself was a playing legend, but he believes the current crop is “far better” than his generation.
“I don’t think we could have done what this team is capable of. This team has just managed to get on with the business week in and week out. We had the comfort of home games and these guys didn’t. There are some great leaders in this side,” he said.
Blackadder mentioned how appealing the Cape Town Stadium looked, but the Crusaders are looking for a home base in Christchurch.