Todd Blackadder's plan falling into place

MARC HINTON
Last updated 13:40 21/07/2013
Todd Blackadder
KIRK HARGREAVES/Fairfax NZ
BLACK AND RED: Todd Blackadder has led the Crusaders to another Super Rugby semifinal.

Relevant offers

Super Rugby

Hika Elliot returns from neck injury to Chiefs Jimmy Cowan focused on the Blues before ABs Mauger leaving Crusaders for Leicester return Japan, Argentina officially join Super Rugby Genia: Reds will embrace refreshed O'Connor Daryl Gibson puts hand up for top Waratahs job Hurricanes' take pre-season training to Gisborne Super Rugby game to be played in Invercargill Super Rugby match in Invercargill next season Southland halfback Scott Eade links with Highlanders

Todd Blackadder reckoned he couldn't have scripted it better as his Crusaders won through to their 12th consecutive Super Rugby semifinal last night.

But the trick now, he admits, is to retain the urgency and commitment that was a trademark of one of the great post-season performances from the red-and-blacks, as they kept their perfect home playoff record intact at 15 from 15.

It's been five years since the Crusaders last lifted the silverware, but with their star All Blacks all firing, and their role players thriving, they are going to be tough to peg back from here.

"You couldn't have written a better script," said a rapt coach Blackadder. "We've had our highs and lows this season, and at times we haven't fired, but the commitment is there and everyone has got their heads in the right place.

"This is a really determined group who really want to do well and what we saw out there tonight is everyone on the same page and aligned about what they wanted to achieve."

Blackadder all but confirmed Richie McCaw would remain on the bench after a promising 15-minute cameo. "You couldn't fault the way [flanker] Matt Todd played tonight, and we'll probably resist the urge to make change for change's sake," he said.

Dan Carter paid tribute to his forwards for providing a great platform. "After the June test window we've bounced back really well and connected well as a team. We're building some nice momentum at the right time of the season. In knockout footy anything can happen but we live to fight another week, which is exciting."

Reds coach Ewen McKenzie refused to criticise the Crusaders' fans for their constant jeering of Quade Cooper throughout the match, even though home fullback Israel Dagg tweeted afterwards that he was "disappointed by the boos".

"The crowd was keeping itself amused I suppose, but in the end Quade did quite well out there," said McKenzie. "I don't think there was much in that."

Ad Feedback

- Sunday Star Times

Special offers
Opinion poll

Which 2015 NZ Super Rugby team looks best?

Blues

Chiefs

Crusaders

Highlanders

Hurricanes

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content