Blackadder questions Brits signing
July 1, 2011
Blackadder insists his side are fit and rearing to go ahead of Saturday's clash against the Stormers © Getty Images
Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder has questioned SANZAR's decision to allow the Stormers to bring in Schalk Brits on loan ahead of their Super Rugby semi-final clash on Saturday.
The Stormers were granted special dispensation to sign Brits from Aviva Premiership champions Saracens earlier this week after their back-row resources were decimated by injury. The versatile Brits is now set for a swift return to the Super Rugby stage, two years after he quit the Stormers for England, and a disgruntled Blackadder has urged tournament organisers to prevent 'marquee signings' at this stage of the season in the future.
"It's something SANZAR decides on, but it boils down to a marquee player coming in at the business end of the season," said Blackadder. "I don't want to get into it too much because I want to focus on what we are going to do.
"SANZAR will probably close the loophole at the end of the season. It's a decision the Stormers made and we can't do anything about it. We will just focus on putting in a good performance. The Stormers got dispensation and clearly there weren't any other loose forwards in the Cape."
The Stormers had hoped to bolster their ranks in the wake of injuries to Duane Vermeulen and Pieter Louw with the recruitment of South African U20's captain Siya Kolisi. But they were forced to look again after Kolisi was the victim of a violent mugging last week with Brits eventually stepping into the void despite the fact he plays at hooker for Saracens.
Aside from Brits' high-profile inclusion, Blackadder remains bullish over his sides chances having seen his side triumph in Cape Town earlier in the season without stellar names Dan Carter and Richie McCaw who will both go into battle on Saturday. "We are in great shape physically and mentally," Blackadder said. "I think we have travelled well. Everyone has orientated themselves and we have had a really light (training) week. There is a real hunger and a real edge here."
The Crusaders will hope history does not repeat itself as they have lost their three previous semi-finals in South Africa in 2007, 2009, 2010 all against the Bulls.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The latest Week in Pictures takes in all the action from the weekend when rugby united behind Samoa
England broke their losing streak, but this was not them clawing their way back among the best, writes Tom Hamilton
Wales were just 13 minutes from a famous victory, but the lessons to be learned in defeat are almost exactly the same as those from previous near-misses, writes Huw Richards
Ahead of England's clash with Samoa, Scrum Sevens takes a wander down memory lane and celebrates seven examples of Pacific Islands magic