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<hash>Smith</hash> hails his <hash>Crusaders</hash> slayers

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Sunday, July 1, 2012    Sportal.co.nz    Getty Images

It was as satisfying as the All Blacks' Steinlager Series wins over Ireland in the previous three weeks, but for different reasons, he said.

"The team keeps going from strength to strength, it's great to see.

Smith told SKY Sport that the fact the Hurricanes had fewer players coming back from Test duty may have been an advantage with more players rested up from the Capital-based side.

"We knew we'd be a little bit fresher and I think that counted for something out there," he said.

The Crusaders were too good a side to let them play and the Hurricanes, and other teams, had been guilty of that in the past.

"You've got to get up and shut them down. They had a few new personnel at 10 and 12 and we thought that was something we could make the most of and it worked out."

The side was still alive in the playoffs hunt with a home game against the Chiefs to finish.

"Considering where we've come from and where people thought we would end up, it's not bad," he said.

Crusaders captain Richie McCaw said: "We probably played the wrong end of the field for a while. We made mistakes, especially in the first half in our own 22m, critically after we scored.

"It was just one of those games where we did some good things but we also did some dumb things so it's a bit disappointing really.

"It's hard to put the finger on it but they certainly came with some intensity and were there at the end."

McCaw said in the first half he felt the Crusaders had 'come second at the breakdown'.

"They slowed up a bit of our ball, had good line speed on defence and perhaps we didn't get any flow on. That was the area that cost us really at the end, you know, you need quick ball to be able to play."

Hurricanes playmaker and first five-eighths Beauden Barrett said wins didn't come too often in Christchurch.

"We're stoked, it was a scrappy win that could have gone either way.

"We knew we had to live off scraps, and quick ruck ball and we had to run them round and we felt that worked well in the first and we managed to grind it out in the second half and it was very pleasing," he said.

Crusaders 100-match veteran Wyatt Crockett said he was happy with how the scrum had gone in the game but it was other areas that they had not done so well in.

"It's hard to put a finger on it right now, just a bit of inaccuracy at crucial times, a couple of lineouts. Just when we were starting to get a bit of momentum we couldn't quite finish them off so credit to them, they played really well with a bit of intensity and their work at the breakdown got them over the line," he said.