Ellis back for Crusaders against Tahs - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ellis back for Crusaders against Tahs

19/03/2009 05:23:26 PM Comments (0)

The Crusaders will welcome back All Blacks halfback Andy Ellis for Saturday's Super 14 clash against a NSW team coach Todd Blackadder predicts will play a more expansive game.

The seven-times Super champions and defending titleholders head in to the ANZ Stadium clash in the uncharacteristically low position of 11th.

They have won just one of their first five games, making a victory on Saturday essential to their final's aspirations.

The Crusaders management aren't prepared to dwell on the potentially disastrous consequences of a loss to the second-placed Waratahs.

"We don't even look at that, we've got a young group and we've got to expect that things aren't always going to be perfect," Crusaders assistant coach Mark Hammett said.

"That's not to say we're not aiming for perfection, but we will only look at one week at a time."

Ellis returns after missing the draw with the Force last week due to sore ribs.

"He (Ellis) understands the game extremely well so it's nice to have him back in there," Hammett said.

There were no other changes to the Crusaders team, with Blackadder declaring consistency of selection was good for developing combinations.

He said the Crusaders had talked about decision making and their inability to sustain pressure.

"It's silly little things like that that have hurt us," he said.

"We seem to be on a bit of a learning curve every week and now we've got to go out and do it."

Hammett said the Waratahs' style under new coach Chris Hickey didn't seem to have changed too much and, together with Blackadder, rated NSW a very good set piece team.

"It's a fairly smart game to be quite honest, especially under the new ELVs that probably promote a kicking game," Hammett said.

"They are obviously doing well because they play to their strengths and good on them.

"But for us, it's to negate those strengths and fire back with a few shots of our own."

Hammett claimed playing the game away from the Waratahs' traditional home at Sydney Football Stadium would be more of a hindrance to them than to his side.

He predicted the Crusaders' unusually low position would actually bring the best out of Blackadder.

"That's how he was during his playing days and is now," Hammett said of the head coach.

"The best blokes that you want are the guys that stand up under adversity and Toddy is certainly one of those blokes."

Crusaders: Leon MacDonald, Adam Whitelock, Tim Bateman, Ryan Crotty, Colin Slade, Stephen Brett, Andy Ellis, Thomas Waldrom, George Whitelock, Kieran Read (capt), Isaac Ross, Brad Thorn, Bronson Murray, Jason Macdonald, Wyatt Crockett. Res: Dan Perrin, Owen Franks, Michael Paterson, Nasi Manu, Kahn Fotuali'i, Hamish Gard, Blair Cook.

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