Crusaders await verdict on Dagg, Tamanivalu

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Monday, March 13, 2017    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

There was no clarity on the injuries suffered by the Crusaders but All Blacks Israel Dagg and Seta Tamanivalu would not be playing on Friday against the Blues. But there were encouraging signs regarding Matt Todd and David Havili.

Dagg has a knee injury which will need a scan while Tamanivalu's problem is hamstring related.

Crusaders assistant coach Brad Mooar said it was exciting the way players had stepped up to fill the vacancies and he mentioned the effort of tighthead prop, Oliver Jager, packing down without a loose forward behind him scrums, and succeeding, was typical of the way players stepped up.

It had been the same for Heiden Bedwell-Curtis while Digby Ioane also got to make his debut for the side.

"These guys just go on in leaps and bounds once they have played. It's super, super exciting," he said.

Mooar said the thing about local derbies was that it was a big emotional and physical spike for the players.

"It's not just about the collisions on the paddock, so it's building up for that then going down and building up for it again another week, chuck in a bit of travel, we are not machines and there are going to be breakages."

The local derbies were brutal and you had to meet that physical challenge, he said.

There was a long tradition of rivalry between Canterbury and Auckland which had continued with the arrival of Super Rugby between the Crusaders and the Blues while Tasman's win over Auckland in Mitre 10 Cup rugby last season was another extension of that.

Mooar said the slow starts the Crusaders made were not an issue so long as the side finished fast. But at the same time they would be looking to address why that was happening rather than the side playing at a more consistent winning tempo.

"Let's not get too caught up in the outcome. We started extremely well against the Highlanders and very well against the Brumbies? We've just got flat patches we've got to get right," he said.