Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder has dismissed suggestions that his team will struggle in the Super Rugby Final next week due to all the travelling they have done, describing it as 'just another leg' on their journey. The dream lives on... | McCaw praises engine room
Many questioned the Crusaders' ability to match the intensity of the rested Stormers in their Cape Town semifinal but the team from Christchurch blew those theories out of the water with a dominant performance at Newlands on Saturday and Blackadder pointed out that his side has travelled pretty well this year to make the Final without playing at home.
He told rugby365.com: "We have been travelling all year and for us it is just another leg. We do it really well, we travel really well, we know how to prepare for games and the players know how to look after themselves."
The Crusaders' home ground is on the verge of being written off due to the damage caused by the earthquakes in Christchurch this year but the team has embraced the difficulties thrown their way this season and are enthusiastic about the opportunity to travel to Brisbane and secure their eighth Super Rugby title.
Blackadder commented: "We are really excited about it, this is why the guys have put in so much hard work - to get these opportunities.
"We have got an incredible week ahead of us and we are really excited about that. I am sure that after travelling we will make sure that we rest and are recharged for next Saturday, but it won't be a problem for us," said the Crusaders boss.
They will face a stern test from the Reds who were rewarded for their consistency this season by finishing on top of the table and then underlined their pedigree by easily beating off the challenge of the Blues in their semifinal at Suncorp Stadium.
Blackadder was impressed with the way the Queenslanders dealt with the Blues and noted that his side are going to have to find a way to shut their dangerous halfbacks down if they are to have a chance of bringing the trophy back to Christchurch.
He said: "I thought the Reds played a really good pressure game and I thought their counter attack was superb.
"The Reds just take their opportunities, Quade Cooper and Will Genia at the moment are just unbelievable - they have kept the Reds winning all year so it is about keeping the ball away from them and shutting them down," he added.
One area in which the Crusaders should have the upper hand in Brisbane is in the scrums, and Blackadder explained that it has taken a lot of hard work to get it to where it is today.
"Our scrum is unbelievably awesome, two years ago we really wanted to take some pride in our set-piece and it had been slow, continual hard work basically to get to where we are today. I think the front row that we have, all of them, have played their part," he said.
The only injury concern for the Crusaders at the moment is over Andy Ellis who hurt his shoulder at Newlands, and Blackadder said that the All Black scrumhalf will do everything he can to be involved this Saturday.
"Andy Ellis is a bit banged up but it is just bruising. He had a scan on his AC joint on the top of the shoulder and it looks like nothing is broken. Andy is one of those fierce competitors who won't take it lying down I can assure you of that. He will be willing but it will be touch and go I would think," said Blackadder.
By Michael de Vries
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