Blackadder hails Kieran Read
May 19, 2013
The Blues were unable to trouble the Crusaders © Getty Images
Blackadder said that Read's stand-in, George Whitelock, had done a fine job in Read's absence but the experience and firepower of the returning captain meant so much to the side. "Every time he gets the ball he is smashing through the defence and it was good to have him back," he said.
Blackadder said the Crusaders had produced "a pretty clinical performance" in trying conditions. "I thought offensively we played really, really well and took the few opportunities when they arose" Field position was critical, especially in that second half. The teams had felt each other out a little bit with thrust and parry ... and we tried to get a bit of structure. I was really pleased with the way we started the second half and kept the pressure on."
He praised Read's decision to employ a lineout maul during that phase saying it had kept pressure on the Blues. "These games are lost and won on gutsy calls, and sometimes they come off and sometimes they don't."
Blackadder said the Crusaders had also been mindful of the way the Blues come out after half-time to attack, so they had been particularly careful to keep the ball away from the visitors. Blackadder said the defensive effort in the first 10 minutes of the game had also been crucial, and he felt the team had turned a mental corner because they were doing all the little things right.
The coach also was delighted that Andy Ellis could celebrate his 100th Super Rugby match with victory. "He epitomises everything that is good about this franchise: he's a local boy; he's the most competitive man I've ever coached; he loves winning, he just absolutely loves winning."
The Crusaders showed great play-offs credentials (video available only in Australia)