Crusaders coach Robbie Deans called his team’s performance last week “sub-standard” ahead of a weekend in which his side and the Sharks will be under extra scrutiny on how they react to their first defeats in rugby’s Super 14 series.
The moody Blues are bracing for a backlash from the chastened Crusaders, whose unbeaten eight-match record was unceremoniously ended by the Chiefs in Hamilton.
Across the Tasman, South Africa’s Sharks paid dearly for a breakdown in discipline, giving up a halftime lead to go down 27-21 to the ACT Brumbies in Canberra.
Coach Robbie Deans admitted the Crusaders’ performance was “sub-standard,” saying they were aware “we’re going to get a real test this weekend.”
Blues’ coach David Nucifora said the Chiefs’ performance, with its strong defensive effort, especially around the fringes of the ruck, had been useful for game-plan purposes.
“It wasn’t great for us for them (Chiefs) to get the points, but they exposed some things in the Crusaders as well, which I thought they did very well,” said Nucifora.
“But obviously the Crusaders will have their eyes back on the ball this week,” he added.
The Sharks can go a long way to locking up a home play-off with a win over the Waratahs, who are chasing five straight wins and possible second place before they head off to South Africa.
“The Sharks are different than most Super 14 teams in the sense that they kick a lot to give themselves go-forward rather than running into people, but when they do take it into contact, they are very physical,” said Waratahs’ coach Ewen McKenzie. (AFP)