Way too soft against Blues, says Crotty

RICHARD KNOWLER
Last updated 05:00 08/03/2013

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Ryan Crotty wants the Crusaders to get angry.

A lack of aggression proved a scourge for the Crusaders during last weekend's loss to the Blues and not surprisingly midfielder Crotty knows a repeat performance will be deemed unacceptable against the Hurricanes tonight.

The Crusaders plans to reinvent their attack failed to reap a try at Eden Park but Crotty said that blaming the misfire on their first Super Rugby outing was no excuse.

The issue, he said, was that the Crusaders backs were not aggressive enough when engaging the Blues in combat.

"We just weren't running hard enough. We have to smash the line to get go-forward and you can get quick ball on the end of that and you can attack again," Crotty said.

"It is a new system for the guys and we are still in the learning process, but no excuses. It's competition time and we have to be doing the job on the field."

Crotty and Robbie Fruean will grapple with Hurricanes midfielders Tim Bateman and Conrad Smith at the Cake Tin after being overshadowed by the Blues Francis Saili and Rene Ranger in Auckland.

Controlling the collisions, especially near the touchlines, will be paramount.

Crotty noted the breakdown starts with the ball-carry and if that is not sharp the Hurricanes will "have a dig" and make the most of turnover opportunities out wide.

Although clean line-breaks against a Blues defensive screen engineered by former All Blacks coach Graham Henry were scarce, Crotty was still encouraged by what the Crusaders achieved at Eden Park.

Post-match analysis proved they "were still bending the line" on attack but those promising moves stalled by handling mistakes or sloppy work at the breakdown.

"We are still making yards - but at times it was just about the last guy owning the ball-carry. And if you own that you have chances for off-loads and that is how you can break the line."

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