Rugby masseuses plan champers from trophy

AUDREY MALONE
Last updated 05:00 02/08/2014
Crusaders massage therapists
PLUM JOB: Massage therapists Pip Robinson, left, and Mandy Chambers say the players compete to be nice to them.

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The Crusaders are on strict instructions from their massage therapists to bring back the Super Rugby trophy, so it can be filled with champagne.

Pip Robinson and Mandy Chambers are part of a team who work on the Super Rugby finalists twice a week.

The players have a massage at the start of the week to help with recovery and another at the end of the week to ensure they are fresh going into a game.

''We have told them no matter what, we want to be drinking bubbles out of the cup,'' Chambers said.

The closer it got to the finals approached, the more preening by players went on, she said.

''Kieran Read is definitely the one getting the most done.'' she said.

She believed the Crusaders had a good chance of beating the Waratahs due to midfielder Ryan Crotty's facial hair as an omen for a Crusaders victory over the Waratahs in Sydney tonight.

''Good things have happened since he has grown that beard,'' she said.

Chambers has been with the Crusaders for eight campaigns now, but she said the best one was with the 2011 team.

''Everything that team did was extremely special. They had no home [because of the earthquake] but they still made it to the finals.''

''It was something else to be a part of.''

Robinson agreed, saying the 2011 team helped her get through an extremely tough year.

''When everything else was happening it was always a pleasure to spend time with them. Their attitudes were another level.'' 

She considers it an honour to be part of the Crusaders operation.

''They make you feel as though you have been an integral part of the game. They really include you.''

Each of the therapists is given a group to work with each year and Robinson said the players' competitive streaks come through in areas other than just sport.

''I get pretty spoilt for my birthday. They have a competition and all try and outdo each other.''

She listed her first-fives - Dan Carter, Tyler Bleyendaal and Tom Taylor - as a very generous bunch when it comes to gift-giving.

''This year I got a couple of dinners, chocolates and flowers.''

Robinson thinks tonight will be emotional.

''I'm excited to watch the game, but I am also very nervous.''

The Crusaders will be facing Adam Ashley-Cooper, the rugby player Robinson rates as the ''hottest'' outside of New Zealand rugby.

''Pretty doesn't win you championships, though,'' she said.

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- The Press

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