Somerville says Crusaders big challenge - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Somerville says Crusaders big challenge

Melissa Woods 31/01/2011 06:03:08 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne prop Greg Somerville says his new side will face their biggest challenge to date against the Crusaders in their final Super rugby pre-season hitout.

The Rebels had two big trial wins over Tonga and then easily accounted for Fiji last Saturday night, however Somerville, who played 116 Super games for the Crusaders before a stint in England, says his former side will present a much tougher prospect on Saturday night at AAMI Park.

"Being realistic and without disrespecting the island teams the Crusaders are one of the benchmark teams of the Super competition," said Somerville, who has also earned 66 Test caps with New Zealand.

"We're going to have to lift a heck of a lot."

The Crusaders, who were beaten 42-15 by Queensland last Saturday, are set to play without their eight All Blacks, who only resumed training on Monday, including injured former league star Sonny Bill Williams.

But Somerville who won six Super rugby titles with the Crusaders, has too much respect for his old side to take them lightly.

"The whole environment there's pretty good so the guys who are youngsters who aren't All Blacks are pretty well skilled.

"They'll field a stronger side than last week when they had a few out with injury, it will take them to another level.

"It will be good for us because we need to know where we sit ahead of the match with the Waratahs."

While all the spotlight has been on the big-name backs including Stirling Mortlock and English import Danny Cipriani, the forwards have been quietly going about their business.

Somerville, 33, said he was satisfied with their progress, and had been particularly impressed with youngster Laurie Weeks, who was recruited from the Reds and former Wallaby Rodney Blake.

"I think we're going alright," he said.

"I think we're just keeping things simple and trying to be effective at the basic part of what forwards have to do out there.

"We've given ourselves something to build from, it's been solid but we can improve on quite a lot as well."

The Rebels are set to name their inaugural captain on Wednesday, with their historic Super rugby opener against NSW on Feb 18.

Somerville said Saturday night's game was their last opportunity to impress coach Rod Macqueen.

"This is the last chance to push our case for selection for the Waratahs game.

"Everyone's vying to be in that first run-on team against the Waratahs, it would be pretty good."

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