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Winning vital moments a key for Crusaders

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Lynn McConnell     14 Jul 2017     Getty Images

Saturday's game with the Hurricanes was vital in securing home advantage all the way through the finals system. But coach Scott Robertson was aware that while the side hadn't won the Super title since 2008 it had been involved in playoffs for every year but one since.

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That had meant going back and learning from the past and he believed it was those critical moments that were the key.

"We've done it so far this year. We've been in a lot of situations and we've trusted and believed in ourselves and that's what we want to continue and I think with a bit of momentum from winning those critical moments we'll give ourselves a good opportunity," he said.

The side for the Hurricanes game will be without the All Blacks front row of Joe Moody, Codie Taylor and Owen Franks while lock Sam Whitelock was on the bench.

Robertson said it had been a welfare call on medical advice to rest the front row after the British & Irish Lions Test series and all three were carrying niggles.

He said it would be tough for the Crusaders to go to Wellington against a desperate Hurricanes side with both sides looking to regain some momentum.
Everybody was the same and having a lot of All Blacks in the Crusaders pack was part of that and how you managed it was the key, he said.

"A lot has happened since we last played [the Hurricanes], tactically and technically in a lot of areas and both teams will have been aware of what we need to do better and the stakes are a little bit different as well," Robertson said.

The Crusaders were expecting more of a mixed approach from the Hurricanes compared to their earlier game. While they had tried to play more rugby against the Crusaders last time they might be tempted to kick more and approach them in a different way.

"When you have a month off, and watching all the other footy, you go through all the permutations and the potential for what could happen," he said, but with the full side having only one week together it was a case of keeping it as simple as possible.

With the players coming back from the Lions series it was a case of easing up on them physically but working on the mental side by making training more about fun and reconnecting as a Crusaders group.