Blackadder taking relaxed approach
July 3, 2011
The Crusaders' Sonny Bill Williams thanks some of the many supporters his side have won on the road this season © Getty Images
Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder believes the key to a Super Rugby Final success against the Reds next weekend is a relaxed build-up.
The seven-time champions booked their place in their 10th Super Rugby finale with a 29-10 victory over the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday. And Blackadder is hoping to replicate the low-key preparation to that game ahead of the last act of what has been an epic season.
"We just need to be fresh and mentally charged for next weekend," explained Blackadder, whose side have been on the road since an earthquake hit Christchurch and damaged their AMI Stadium home in February. "Because at this time of the season it is just about mental preparation.''
Blackadder, who may just get his wish with the deciding State of Origin clash in Brisbane on Wednesday set to steal much of the limelight, is set to lead the Crusaders into his first final since taking the side's reins from Robbie Deans in 2009 and is adamant his squad enjoy the occasion.
"The guys have worked hard, they have worked hard to give themselves this opportunity and we just have to make the most of this, enjoy this week and make sure we are rested and recharged and looking forward to this Saturday. It is huge.''
The Crusaders were in impressive form against the Stormers and the level of their performance was not wasted on their coach. "That was a shut-out performance; I thought that was absolutely outstanding,'' said Blackadder. "I almost expected that performance and I am pleased we put it all on out there on the track. I thought there was pressure right across the board, the strategy worked really well and I was pleased with the scrum and lineout. And I thought our defence was a rock tonight that just could not be broken.''
The Crusaders have lost their two last matches at Suncorp Stadium - including a controversial 17-16 defeat in the last minute on May 29 - but captain Richie McCaw is confident his side will be ready despite another gruelling trip across the Indian Ocean ahead of them.
"We will get on the plane [Sunday] and get ready for what will be a really big match next week," he said. "The first couple of days after travel you don't feel that good, but you have to remember that come Saturday you will be ready to go. We just have to back that and know that we can do it again next week."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Italy coach Jacques Brunel spoke to ESPN ahead of his final season as Italy coach and tells of his desire to experiment and evolve
"There's no bull with me, I just tell it straight." Tom Hamilton talks to Warren Gatland in an exclusive interview
With the retirement of Adam Jones, Welsh rugby says goodbye to a great player and one of its biggest personalities too, writes Tom Hamilton
Cards, kicks, slips and scores: It's The Week in Pictures, the finest snaps from the last seven days of rugby