Crusaders to ditch percentages for adventure
February 19, 2013
Dan Carter is key to the Crusaders' attacking intentions and expansive game plan © Getty Images
The Crusaders want to adopt a more expansive approach, and shake the "clinical" tag, as they bid to win an eighth Super Rugby crown.
The team conducted an exhaustive off-season review - the sort of review that might normally be conducted by a team that finished near the bottom of the ladder - and discovered the need to veer from their traditional percentage approach.
Todd Blackadder, the Crusaders coach, said no stone was left unturned after they were defeated by the Chiefs in the semi-finals, the fourth successive season they have reached the play-offs but failed to add to a bulging trophy cabinet.
"What you're going to see this year is a total rebranding of the way the Crusaders are going to play," Blackadder said.
"We've looked at where we've been in the past, we've looked at best practice from our competitors, and we're going to raise the bar. You're going to see an attacking style of football this year, we're going to attack."
The franchise has also made noises about restoring winger Zac Guildford, who has stood down to seek treatment and advice after an alcohol-fuelled pre-season incident.
Three of the four Whitelock brothers are in a hard-nosed pack laden with All Blacks and youngsters who were at the heart of Canterbury's record fifth successive NPC title in 2012.
No.8 Kieran Read, who will lead the Crusaders in McCaw's absence, and probably also the All Blacks against France in June, says the title "drought" has stung the franchise into action.
"The organisation wants to be successful, and that's what we measure ourselves on, it's championships," he said.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The fairytale continued right to the end for the magic man." Tom Hamilton reports on the game that saw Brian O'Driscoll bid adieu with the Six Nations title
"It is a sign of how far this England team have come that they looked disappointed at the full-time whistle having just put 52 points on Italy." Tom Hamilton writes
We bring together a selection of the best pictures from the final round of the Six Nations and one which ended in Irish victory
"Some people have it from day one and Brian did." Tom Hamilton talks to the two players who made their Ireland debuts alongside Brian O'Driscoll back in June 1999