Crusaders to shift gear against Tahs - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Crusaders to shift gear against Tahs

By Darren Walton 26/05/2008 06:08:17 PM Comments (0)

The Crusaders admit they will have to find another gear to deny the NSW Waratahs a maiden Super 14 title in Christchurch on Saturday.

Assistant coach Mark Hammett said the Crusaders have been hugely impressed by the Waratahs' revival from 13th last season and anything less than a complete performance at Jade Stadium would probably mean defeat for the six-time champions.

"They're like most Aussie teams, to be frank - they don't give up. They're pretty persistent, pretty resilient, so it's going to be a hell of a game," Hammett said.

"They've obviously been bloody solid. They came off a hard year last year but they were also in a building year last year and early on they probably took a bit to get going.

"But obviously they had a plan all year. They base their game around a very strong set-piece plus a kicking game.

"And when I say set-piece, I'm not just talking about the actual winning of the ball, but their methodology.

"In terms of what they do and where they go post-launch, they are very strong.

"We're very respectful of them. We always have been. We see them as an intelligent team. We suspect they'll mix it up. They always come in with a few surprises and we hope to show a few ourselves."

But, in a chilling warning to the Waratahs, Hammett conceded the tournament's slickest and most well-oiled machine had been operating on cruise control in the fortnight lead-up up to the playoffs before blowing away the Hurricanes to reassert their superiority.

"To get to where we got to and be top qualifier with two or three rounds left has obviously shown that we've worked damn hard and been mentally tough for most of the campaign," he said.

"Then we did have two weeks where we just dropped off a wee bit. Perhaps we got into too much thinking that skill and technique would win it, versus having the attitude to do it.

"It was a matter of just getting back on the horse and getting those top two inches right and we got that right last week and showed what a devastating team we can be when we get that part of it right.

"We're like any team in that if we don't get the attitude right that, you can battle along.

"But finals time is a great time of the year because everyone's attitude is right, so it's just a matter of who handles the pressure best now.

"We've played some of the best footy we've played all year against the Hurricanes, but we know we'll have to bring that and more to get a win over the Tahs this weekend.

"In finals, everything's out the window really. Form goes out the window, points go out the window and it's a one-off and whoever wants it the most will get it."

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