Stopping Steyn crucial for Crusaders in playoff

17:00, Jul 20 2012
Blues v Crusaders
Blues centre Rene Ranger on the charge.
Blues v Crusaders
Blues loosehead prop Tom McCartney attempts to charge the kick of Crusaders first five Tyler Bleyendaal.
Blues v Crusaders
Crusaders centre Robbie Fruean dives over to score during against the Blues.
Blues v Crusaders
Crusaders captain Kieran Read is tackled by Blues fullback Isaia Toeava.
Blues v Crusaders
Blues first five Michael Hobbs is tackled by Crusaders second five Ryan Crotty.
Blues v Crusaders
Crusaders captain Kieran Read after a Blues try.
Blues v Crusaders
Blues captain Keven Mealamu in action against the Crusaders.
Blues v Crusaders
Crusaders captain Kieran Read loses his shorts against the Blues.
Blues v Crusaders
Crusaders first five Tyler Bleyendaal is scragged by Blues replacement Brad Mika.
Zac Guildford
Zac Guildord is tackled over the sideline by Highlanders first-five Lima Sopoaga.
George Whitelock
George Whitelock crashes into the Highlanders defence.
Robbie Fruean
Crusaders centre Robbie Fruean makes the mistake of running at Nasi Manu and Adam Thomson.
Sean Maitland
Crusaders wing Sean Maitland skips down the sideline at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
Luke Romano, Jason Rutledge and George Whitelock
Crusaders Luke Romano (left) and George Whitelock put the hit on Highlanders reserve hooker Jason Rutledge.
Tyler Bleyendaal
Young Crusaders No 10 Tyler Bleyendaal releases the ball to his outside backs.
Tim Nanai-Williams and Israel Dagg
Chiefs wing Tim Nanai-Williams passes the ball in-field as he is pushed to the ground by Israel Dagg.
George Whitelock and Liam Messam
Crusaders No 6 George Whitelock brings down a kick-off, under pressure from his Chiefs opposite Liam Messam.
Chiefs v Crusaders gallery
Luke Romano of the Crusaders wins a lineout against the Chiefs at McLean Park.
Chiefs v Crusaders gallery
Tawera Kerr-Barlow of the Chiefs is tackled by Kieran Read of the Crusaders.
Chiefs v Crusaders gallery
Aaron Cruden of the Chiefs gets a kick away while being tackled against the Crusaders at McLean Park.
Chiefs v Crusaders gallery
George Whitelock (L) and Corey Flynn of the Crusaders tackle Robbie Robinson of the Chiefs.
Crusaders gallery
Sean Maitland scores a try against the Cheetahs.
Crusaders gallery
Crusaders players Sean Maitland's try.
Crusaders gallery
The new AMI Stadium before the Crusaders' match against the Cheetahs.
Crusaders gallery
Crusaders halfback Andy Ellis crunched in a Cheetahs tackle.
Crusaders gallery
Fans at the new Christchurch Stadium in Addington.
Crusaders gallery
Israel Dagg is wrapped up in the tackle against the Cheetahs.
Crusaders gallery
Zac Guildford of the Crusaders crosses over to score a try against the Lions at Ellis Park
Crusaders gallery
Alwyn Hollenbach of the Lions tackled by Robert Fruean of the Crusaders at Ellis Park
Crusaders gallery
Israel Dagg of the Crusaders tackled by Jaco Taute of the Lions at Ellis Park
Crusaders gallery
Kieran Read of the Crusaders wins the ball against the Lions at Ellis Park
Crusaders gallery
Sean Maitland of the Crusaders catches the ball against the Lions at Ellis Park
Crusaders gallery
Dan Carter of the Crusaders sets up a try against the Lions at Ellis Park.
Crusaders gallery
Zac Guildford of the Crusaders attacks against the Lions at Ellis Park.
Zac Guildford
Zac Guildford sends a pass out wide during the Crusaders' 32-30 loss in Pretoria.
Luke Whitelock
Luke Whitelock pulls down a lineout throw at Loftus Versfeld.
Morne Steyn and Matt Todd
Crusaders' No 7 Matt Todd attempts to charge down the kick of Morne Steyn.
Israel Dagg and Sean Maitland
Israel Dagg hops in the air to get a pass away in the tackle to team-mate Sean Maitland.
Israel Dagg
Israel Dagg is hauled down by Bulls first-five Morne Steyn.
Crusaders v Stormers
Corey Flynn during the Crusaders match against the Stormers at the AMI Stadium at Addington.
Crusaders v Stormers
Israel Dagg during the Crusaders match against the Stormers at the AMI Stadium at Addington.
Crusaders v Stormers
Crusader Matt Todd in action against the Stormers.
Hurricanes gallery
Crusaders' Dan Carter passes against the Hurricanes.
Hurricanes gallery
Hurricanes' Jeremy Thrush and Crusaders' Kieran Read battle for the ball.
Hurricanes gallery
Crusaders' Wyatt Crockett hits out at Hurricanes' Chris Eaton.
Hurricanes gallery
Crusaders' Andrew Ellis passes against the Hurricanes.
Hurricanes gallery
Crusaders' Ben Franks on the charge against the Hurricanes.
Hurricanes gallery
Crusaders' Israel Dagg is tackled by Hurricanes' Ben May.
Crusaders v Waratahs in Sydney
Robbie Fruean takes time out during the Crusaders' defeat of the Waratahs in Sydney.
Crusaders v Waratahs in Sydney
Crusaders No 8 Kieran Read bursts into space against the Waratahs.
Crusaders v Waratahs in Sydney
Crusaders winger Zac Guildford gets a pass away against the Waratahs.
Crusaders v Waratahs in Sydney
Crusaders centre Robbie Fruean bursts clear for his first try against the Waratahs in Sydney.
Crusaders v Reds
Israel Dagg tackled by Ben Lucas as the Crusaders take on the Reds in Christchurch.
Crusaders v Reds
Kieran Read leads out the Crusaders against the Reds.
Crusaders v Reds
Tom Taylor lines up a kick against the Reds.
Crusaders v Reds
Referee Bryce Lawrence sends off Wyatt Crockett against the Reds.
Crusaders v Reds
Luke Romano on the charge against the Reds.
Crusaders v Reds
Zac Guildford on the charge against the Reds.
Crusaders v Reds
Thomas Tracey, 6, Tom Hearn, 6, Ben Strickland, 6, Tatsumi Konishi, 6, and McNamara Kane, 6 at the game.
Crusaders v Rebels
The Crusaders win a lineout against the Rebels at AAMI Park in Melbourne.
Crusaders v Rebels
Stirling Mortlock of the Rebels celebrates victory at the final whistle against the Crusaders at AAMI Park in Melbourne.
Crusaders v Rebels
Nick Phipps of the Rebels scores a try against the Crusaders at AAMI Park in Melbourne.
Crusaders v Rebels
Gareth Delve of the Rebels runs with the ball against the Crusaders at AAMI Park in Melbourne.
Crusaders v Rebels
Luke Whitelock and Sam Whitelock make a tackle against the Rebels.
Crusaders v Rebels
Andy Ellis prepares to kick against the Rebels.
Crusaders v Rebels
Richie McCaw is tackled against the Rebels.
Hurricanes v Blues
Zac Guildford coming in for a try against the Blues at the new AMI Stadium at Rugby League Park in Christchurch.
Hurricanes v Blues
Zac Guildford is tackled by Angus Ta'avao (top) and Steven Luata of the Blues at the new AMI Stadium at Rugby League Park in Christchurch.
Hurricanes v Blues
Robbie Fruean on attack against the Blues at the new AMI Stadium at Rugby League Park in Christchurch.
Hurricanes v Blues
Dan Carter cool under pressure against the Blues at the new AMI Stadium at Rugby League Park in Christchurch.
Hurricanes v Blues
Tom Marshall grabs a try against the Blues at the new AMI Stadium at Rugby League Park in Christchurch.
Hurricanes v Blues
Robbie Fruean on attack against the Blues at the new AMI Stadium at Rugby League Park in Christchurch.
Crusaders v Highlanders
Richie McCaw covers a cut lip against the Highlanders.
Crusaders v Highlanders
Adam Thompson hits Andy Ellis into touch.
Crusaders v Highlanders
Kieran Read rubs Jarrad Hoeata's face in the dirt.
Crusaders v Highlanders
Wyatt Crockett scores for the Crusdaders.
Crusaders v Highlanders
Ben Smith and Andy Ellis have a punch up.
Crusaders v Highlanders
George Whitelock of the Crusaders gets a yellow card.
Crusaders v Highlanders
Kieran Read of the Crusaders on the charge.
Crusaders v Highlanders
Zac Guildford of the Crusaders goes in for a try.
Hurricanes v Crusaders
Hurricanes players celebrate their win against the Crusaders.
Hurricanes v Crusaders
Crusaders' Richie McCaw gets up-ended going for the high ball.
rugby 5
Crusader Sean Maitland takes on Hurricane Tim Bateman.
rugby 5
Crusaders' Wyatt Crockett on the burst.
rugby 5
Zac Guildford of the Crusaders runs away to score a try against the Hurricanes.
Chiefs v Crusaders
Richie McCaw comes in to tackle Sona Taumalolo.
Chiefs v Crusaders
Israel Dagg takes a high ball in front of Aaron Cruden.
Chiefs v Crusaders
Luke Romano scores for the Crusaders against the Chiefs.
Chiefs v Crusaders
Kieran Read scores for the Crusaders against the Chiefs.
Chiefs v Crusaders
Hika Elliot fends of Israel Dagg.
Israel Dagg
DETERMINED: Israel Dagg just moments before scoring the first try for the Crusaders against the Western Force.
Crusaders v Rebels
Matt Todd scores a try against the Western Force.
Crusaders v Rebels
Crusaders' players celebrate the Matt Todd try against the Western Force.
Crusaders v Rebels
Two captains, Richie McCaw and Nathan Sharpe talk after the match.
Crusaders v Rebels
Israel Dagg scores first try against the Western Force.
Zac Guildford
Zac Guildford streaks away to score against the Bulls.
Richie McCaw
Richie McCaw is held in the tackle by the Bulls.

First five-eighth Morne Steyn is among the Bulls' smallest soldiers but the one the Crusaders should dread the most tonight in the sudden-death Super match in Christchurch.

Steyn is no Dan Carter; he doesn't possess the Crusaders No 10's running game, ball-handling skills or status, yet the Springbok is perfect for the Bulls.

The 28-year-old has been representing the Pretoria-based side since 2005 and this week Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder recollected how the playmaker destroyed his hopes of winning a Super Rugby title in his first year as boss in 2009.

Morne Steyn
DANGEROUS BOOT: Bulls' Morne Steyn lines up a kick at goal.

"He was just on fire and killed us, really," Blackadder lamented as he reflected on that semifinal in Pretoria.

"The way they play their game, he is very much a ‘pocket 10'. He can kick goals from anywhere and he is a great organiser."

Steyn amassed 21 points, including 4 drop goals, as the Bulls waltzed home 36-23 and when the Crusaders stumbled in the following year's semi in Soweto he hoofed over 24 in the 39-24 victory.

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The Springboks playmaker, who employs fellow Springbok Francois Hougaard as his distributor, will not have Loftus Versfeld's thin air to carry his shots but his presence should have the Crusaders' skin crawling whenever he lines up a kick this evening.

"Last week we just gave too many penalties away - in these games the most disciplined side usually wins," Blackadder acknowledged.

So there it is. And if there is any team you don't want to offer kickable penalties to it is one that contains Steyn.

Although he doesn't possess the long-range potential of Sharks utility Frans Steyn, Morne can be a nightmare for opponents over a shorter distance.

The competition's leading scorer (225 points) this season he has scored 1198 during his Super career and his 24 drop goals are a tournament record.

The Crusaders' task of navigating into the semi will be complex if they fail to heed the warnings of South African referee Jaco Peyper at Christchurch's AMI Stadium. Blackadder has already pleaded his side's case by stating his props have been instructed at training not to put their hands on the deck during scrums and anyone entering a ruck needs to be cautious about remaining on his feet.

When the sides last met, in Pretoria on April 7, Steyn caned the Crusaders with six penalties and two conversions as the visitors unleashed a bold, and ultimately futile, running game during the 32-20 loss.

It would be folly for the Crusaders to utilise the wrong strategy again.

Being caged inside their own half will be anathema for both sides. Dan Carter and Steyn will instead lob long kicks into space and whenever they get the territory gain required, the games within games will begin.

The Crusaders could have done worse this week than to revisit the footage of last year's 27-0 win over the Bulls in Timaru.

Constructed around their eagerness at the breakdown and a very effective defensive lineout, they discovered the Bulls had no appetite for the fight in the cold and mud.

"We weren't accurate enough, the basics stuff cost us that day," Bulls coach Frans Ludeke said this week. "We let them get their way in the game - front-foot ball, quick ball from broken situations."

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