Early efforts pay off for Crusaders
Tuesday, May 23, 2017 Lynn McConnell Getty Images
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Assistant coach Brad Mooar said the thinking had been to have the rugby preparation in early to be at the point of their last pre-season game being in readiness to play their first Super rugby game.
Mooar said watching the team's weekly efforts going into preparation, and the trust building into confidence in one another, as a result of having done the required work, had been satisfying so far during the campaign.
"These guys are really good mates and they are doing a great job of building friendships and they are also very strong team-mates as well. They're not afraid to hold each other accountable for the footy stuff and the behaviour stuff," he said.
The side couldn't accept that they had qualified for the play-offs yet and they certainly couldn't start thinking about prospective titles.
#ShotoftheRound | Seta Tamanivalu offloads midair as he is taken down by Cruden and Harris during the #CRUvCHI clash in Suva. #SuperRugby pic.twitter.com/8GTbkGpjnR— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) May 22, 2017The Rebels were a side trying hard but having to cope with the 'disappointing uncertainty' about their future which had a 'massive human element' to it. As a result they will be trying to fix a lot and in the meantime worrying about the future, their players, their staff, their office staff.
"What better opportunity have they got than to be the first to take the scalp of the Crusaders in 2017. I'm sure that will be a factor galvanising them to put a performance on," he said.
So far as playing personnel was concerned concussion victims from Suva, Ryan Crotty and Matt Todd were working through their protocols on a day by day basis.
Israel Dagg was back training with the squad and available for selection on Saturday.
Mooar said having experienced the side last year under coach Todd Blackadder and being involved in the new regime with Scott Robertson, he could only repeat what Robertson had said about things not being broken, just being given a different perspective.
"It's pretty clear we've changed a bit about how we've played. The group that people are talking about now are one year further on. The Richie Mo'unga's, David Havili, Jack Goodhue, they're just that year of more maturity and they're augmented by some other guys who are ready to go and take their opportunities: Bridgey [George Bridge], Seta [Tamanivalu], Mitch [Drummond] and Bryn [Hall] have been playing the majority of games at nine [halfback] for us and they've just been driving each other along with Leon [MacDonald] to be better.
"I think we've got a real clarity on what our identity is and what we need from everybody in their positions and then it's up to us to coach that and those guys to execute it," he said.
10 days to go until kick off! The DHL New Zealand Lions Series 2017 is nearly here! Who's ready? #SuperRugby #AllBlacks #LionsNZ2017 pic.twitter.com/vwMqnor9Vc— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) May 23, 2017
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