Blues wake-up calls sharpen Crusaders' focus

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Knowing they will face a competitive and vigorous Sharks team, the Crusaders had been given a reminder that they couldn't afford to let their concentration slip.

Conceding a pushover penalty try to the Blues had hit the Crusaders pack hard. Forwards coach Jason Ryan said there had been a couple of areas they were disappointed in their forward pack against the Blues and the players were hurting about conceding the penalty try.

They had been five percent off the mark technically and three percent mentally which was disappointing, Ryan said.

There had been 'a healthy review' of that, and one or two other areas where they had not been as good as they would have liked.

However, there was satisfaction with how long they worked hard which involved a lot of work ethic and they had come through some adversity when not everything had gone their way.

"It's good to be able to grow from that heading into finals footy where everything will be upbeat with more intensity all round," he said.

The Sharks would be coming to Christchurch with nothing to lose. So far as the Crusaders were concerned, it wasn't a quarterfinal, it was a final, because losing meant the season was over, he said.

They had been doing their analysis of the Sharks last week and into this week.

"We're reasonably happy with where we're at, we've just got to make sure we have that edge at the right time of the week," he said.

"We haven't played the Sharks for two years. They're a big physical pack and like any South African team they are going to bring a lot of physicality," he said.

"They're a good off-loading team and they've got athletes across the park," he said.

Prop Joe Moody is unavailable for the game while they were hopeful No.8 Kieran Read and second five-eighths Ryan Crotty would get through the week to be available. Read suffered a blow to the wrist that had kept him out for much of the campaign but it was not another break and just some bruising.

Ryan said it was a time of year when players and coaches had to be at their best because the stakes were so high and if they didn't get it right their season would be over.