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Crusaders to build on quarterfinal effort

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Monday, July 24, 2017    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

And it would continue to be of benefit as the side meets the Chiefs in this week's semifinal in Christchurch.

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Assistant coach Jason Ryan said the harsh penalty count against the side when they lost to the Hurricanes 10 days ago had demonstrated the need to be more careful and that was reflected against the Highlanders.

"That will hopefully make us better for finals footy," he said.

"You've got to be better and you've got to adjust otherwise we won't be standing here on the Monday. The season's over so you've got to get it right during the week and we did that last week and we'll prepare accordingly this week as well."

While the Chiefs had to cope with the travel factor in going to Cape Town and return, they had shown grit, Ryan said, and had beaten a good Stormers side that would build their confidence.

"Their set-piece is going well and Brodie [Retallick] is a real enforcer for them in the lineout and around the track and their scrum is going good so we'll have to be right up for the challenge," he said.

Ryan said there was a lot about the Crusaders' pack's approach in the wet on Saturday that was very good, but they needed to be even better against the Chiefs.
"Considering the conditions - there was only one collapsed scrum in the whole game - and I think that says a lot about the positive mindset that both teams had at the scrummaging and I thought it was outstandingly well officiated by Angus Gardiner.

"He set the tone in the shed right from the start. The boys knew where they stood with him and he had a really good rapport with them and played a big part which could have gone completely the other way considering those conditions.

"We knew it was hardly going to be expansive rugby with a Civil Defence emergency but we played to our strengths. We had to change a few things on the day but the boys adapted on the run but come Saturday it is going to be another big step up," he said.

Ryan said it was great to have players like Tim Perry (2019) and Oli Jaegar (2020) renewing their contracts because they were being sought by other franchises but they were serving the best apprenticeship in the country when you looked at who they got to scrummage against.

Hooker Ben Funnell (2019) had been around for a while now and he was bringing out the best in Codie Taylor making competition healthy.