Keven Mealamu provides winning experience
May 17, 2013
Keven Mealamu was in the last Blues team to win in Christchurch © Getty Images
If anyone were needed to remind the younger members of the Blues side what is involved in winning in Christchurch against the Crusaders, it would be hard to go past Keven Mealamu. The All Blacks hooker was at the old AMI Stadium when the Blues last won at the ground, in 2004. "It just shows how hard it is to win down there," he said.
Preparation was vital for the side, and knowing what conditions they might expect - even down to colder weather than they were used to - was all part of the mindset to be able to turn up and play, Mealamu said. "It's probably not so much place, but the way they put things together when they are playing on their home patch. It's just like any side playing at home. They're a pretty proud team at home so we just want to make sure we can go down there and be ourselves and play our rugby down there."
As a senior player who has known Super Rugby ups and downs with the Blues, Mealamu said the satisfaction he had taken in the 2013 year of recovery was seeing the young players go out and express themselves. "What has impressed me is they are not scared to try something and the way they prepare really well for games." Often you could look at them during the week and wonder if they were a bit loose, but they were enjoying themselves and showing an ability to switch onto the task at the right times, Mealamu said
Mealamu, who says he has put behind him the calf injuries that have plagued him this season, said the Blues had done a good deal of lineout work in this week's preparation because the Crusaders - with locks Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano and Kieran Read - were probably the best defensive lineout in the competition. "They do their homework, they are always well prepared when you play against them, so it's a case of making sure we're nice and sharp so we go down there and execute. We know the pressure is going to be there but for us to be really cool and calm and to do our job under that pressure is going to be what is required to go well down there."