Crusaders facing tough Cape Town test - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Crusaders facing tough Cape Town test

By Robert Smith 29/04/2010 02:58:40 PM Comments (0)

The pressure is on seven-time Super rugby champions Canterbury Crusaders as they head into their crucial Super 14 match with the Western Stormers in Cape Town on Friday.

After their shock loss to the Western Force in Perth last week, the Crusaders face the second-placed Stormers and front-running Northern Bulls back-to-back in what could decide their playoff chances.

The third-placed Crusaders are the most successful team in the southern hemisphere provincial series and are bidding to make the finals for the 12th time in 13 seasons.

The Crusaders have a winning record in South Africa, with 17 wins and 15 losses, but they are facing a Stormers outfit chasing their fifth win from six matches at Newlands this year.

If Richie McCaw's men cannot beat the Stormers they then face the daunting prospect of a must-win game against the Bulls at their Loftus Versfeld fortress the following weekend.

"We have to treat it as if our whole season revolves around this game," McCaw said.

Coach Todd Blackadder agreed: "Everything is on the line and there will be a little air of desperation.

"We've got a really good side, we know we've got men of character, and it's just a rugby thing. We're not out of it by any means. Our destiny is still in our hands."

The Stormers, who have never reached the Super rugby playoffs, could become the first South African franchise to complete a clean sweep of victories over New Zealand opposition.

They have already defeated the Hurricanes and the Highlanders at home and won away against the Chiefs and the Blues.

The Stormers know they will be in for a huge test against the Kiwis.

"Scrumming-wise, this is definitely going to be the biggest test for our pack," forwards coach Matt Proudfoot said.

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