Ryan Crotty calm, ready for Sydney cauldron

RICHARD KNOWLER
Last updated 05:00 31/07/2014
RELAXED: Crusaders midfielder Ryan Crotty prepares to board the plane to Sydney for the Super Rugby final against the Waratahs.
Joseph Johnson/Fairfax NZ
RELAXED: Crusaders midfielder Ryan Crotty prepares to board the plane to Sydney for the Super Rugby final against the Waratahs.

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He barely blinked during the white-knuckled flight over the Southern Alps and Ryan Crotty isn't worried about what lies ahead in Sydney, either.

Strong westerly winds caused lively turbulence for the Crusaders' Air New Zealand jet as it flew over the South Island's spine yesterday, resulting in the pilot reducing altitude and slightly deviating the flight path to give his passengers a smoother voyage.

Given some of the hairy situations they have endured on the field the Crusaders have become accustomed to wild rides, so like his team-mates Crotty could only fasten his seat belt and wait for the bumpy ride to end.

It's that sort of resolve coach Todd Blackadder will want from his men during Saturday night's Super Rugby grand final against the Waratahs.

It might be in Sydney, but Crotty says the Crusaders are backing themselves to repeat the deeds of the 1998, 99 and 2000 teams and win outside of Christchurch.

''It's interesting - one of the things we said at the start of the year was to win away,'' Crotty said.

''It's something we have put a lot of emphasis and we have gone really well, we won all our games in South Africa and quite a few away from home.

''We will take a lot of confidence in that. We know it will be a hostile environment in Sydney - we are under no illusions there.''

The Crusaders have won in Melbourne, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, Hamilton, Brisbane and Dunedin this season and haven't lost to the Waratahs since being beaten in their opening round match in Christchurch in 2004.

Crotty knows all about hostile crowds in Aussie too; he had to listen to the Queensland crowd abuse him and the rest of the Crusaders reserves when they lost the 2011 grand final against the Reds in Brisbane.

The Crusaders fielded a midfield of Sonny Bill Williams and Robbie Fruean that evening.

Crotty, who took the field in the second half of that grand final, reiterated the need to field an airtight defence and not let the occasion limit their desire to use the ball at ANZ Stadium.

''You do not want to go into your shell. You just want to be doing the things that you have been doing all year, that have got us to where we are.''

Containing Israel Folau is set to be high on Crotty's tip sheet and having studied footage of the Waratahs' moves he fully expects the big fullback to sprint his way.

''He's usually the midfielders' man on D and probably will be on Saturday night. We have looked at a few of their moves and different plays that they run.

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''Yeah, it could be that I try to tackle the big man quite a bit. It is something I am excited about and if I do that it will go a long way to help our team.''

- The Press

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