Crockett eyes All Blacks recall
June 23, 2011
Crockett is hoping to catch the eye of the All Blacks selectors as the Crusaders enter the Super Rugby Finals Series © Getty Images
Crusaders prop Wyatt Crockett is aiming to catch the eye of the All Blacks selectors as his side kick off their post-season campaign against the Sharks in Nelson.
Crockett has been an outstanding front-row performer for the Crusaders throughout the Super Rugby campaign, and the tall loose-head is determined to force his way back into contention on the international stage. The business end of the competition is the time when special attention is given to those who have survived and Crockett is in line for an All Blacks recall having not pulled on the famous jersey since winning his third Test cap in 2009.
"All you can do is to play your best for your team and hopefully do enough to get selected," Crockett said after the Crusaders completed their preparation for their semi-finals elimination match at Trafalgar Park. The Crusaders finished third on the preliminary table to earn a home play-off against the sixth-placed Sharks.
Last time the two teams met, in late March in London, the Crusaders scrum destroyed the Sharks in the second half, once marching the South Africans off their ball as they powered to a 44-28 win. The same forward pack, with Crockett, hooker Corey Flynn, and tight-head prop Owen Franks will line up against the visitors again and want to replicate that outstanding scrum performance.
Crockett is one of three changes to the Crusaders side which booked their place in the play-offs with a hard-fought 16-9 win over the Hurricanes in Wellington last Saturday. He will replace Ben Franks in the regular rotation of the Crusaders' three All Blacks props. Three key backs also return, with wing Sean Maitland and second five-eighths Sonny Bill Williams recovering from injury to replace Brent Ward and Ryan Crotty respectively. Scrum-half Kahn Fotuali'i comes into the reserves for Willi Heinz.
Crockett modestly admitted that the Crusaders had "a good day" in the scrums when they played the Sharks at Twickenham. "That can happen and I'm sure they would have talked about that this week and will want to give it back to us. We've worked really hard on our scrum this week making sure our house is in order. That's all we can do and now we've got to go out and put on a scrum performance that we can be proud of," Crockett said.
"It's great to be involved in finals footy and there are nine other teams who wish they were here. It brings out the best in you and puts you under pressure so it is so satisfying when you get those victories when you know everything is on the line."
The Crusaders have had the measure of the Sharks throughout Super Rugby history, having won 13 and drawing one of their 17 matches. The Sharks have won only once in the last seven years and that 27-26 victory in Durban in 2007 came from a runaway try and a sideline conversion in injury time.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham