Discipline the word for Crusaders
May 6, 2010
Can Dan Carter rediscover his best form? © Getty Images
Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder has demanded greater discipline from his men as they look to upset the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld this weekend.
Currently fourth on the Super 14 ladder following last weekend's heavy loss to the Stormers, the Crusaders need a result if they are to hold off the charge of the Brumbies, Waratahs and Hurricanes as the semi-finals loom.
The Bulls have not lost a game at Loftus in their last 17 outings and Blackadder is keen for his side to not open the door to Morne Steyn's boot with a lack of nous at the breakdown. Last weekend against the Stormers, referee Stu Dickinson saw fit to dish out 10 first-half penalties against the visitors and a yellow card to All Black Kieran Read.
"Whatever we need to do, we need to react and adjust a lot quicker," he said. "We don't mind getting penalised, as long as it's a consistent approach across the board for both teams. Every ref is different and they're entitled to their interpretation. We just need to adjust to the referee. Ten penalties and a yellow card, we just didn't adjust quick enough so I'm putting the onus back on us.
"They like field position and I think 65% of their play comes off their lineout. We know what it's like if you make mistakes in your own half, Steyn can kick goals and with the drop kick he's outstanding. It's all about field position for them. We've got to contest [the lineout] and we've got to go big for this one. I was really disappointed last week in the lineouts."
With star fly-half Dan Carter enduring a quiet few weeks, Blackadder has shuffled his midfield deck to incorporate Dan Bowden at inside-centre. The London Irish-bound playmaker will provide a second kicking option and take some pressure off Carter.
"[Bowden] is a great decision maker and I felt we needed a bit of spark there," Blackadder said. "He's got a good kicking game and it means we've got a left and right-foot kicker. With the way the Bulls defend and if we want to play a territory game then we need to have more than one kicker in the backline."
The Waratahs are also on the comeback trail after losing to the Highlanders in Invercargill in the previous round but the Crusaders' Kiwi rivals the Chiefs await this weekend and can do their compatriots a favour at Waikato Stadium.
"The Waratahs probably aren't the only ones who don't want to go to Invercargill in May when the southerly comes," Chiefs boss Ian Foster said. "It's not the easiest place to play. I don't think the conditions changed the Highlanders' gameplan much but it did expose the Waratahs. We've certainly picked some stuff up but the Waratahs also would have learned a lot. They've spoken about the need to get physical, and they didn't like getting dominated. We're expecting a very desperate Waratahs side."