Crusaders prepared for tough Brumbies contest

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Thursday, April 26, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

The Australian capital was a lot like Christchurch, he said, the fans were patriotic, it was a tough game and it was a cooler climate. The Brumbies had a good-sized pack and he recalled they had given the Crusaders one of their toughest games last year.

Robertson said they understood how big the game was for the Brumbies as a result of where they were sitting on the ladder and with Sam Carter's 100th game for the side.

"We've had some great battles over the years, there's a lot of history between the Brumbies and the Crusaders so we've prepared with a lot of respect," he said.

Robertson had been involved in two Super Rugby finals with the Brumbies, and they had some successes and still had some fine players in their squad.

The injury news wasn't good for the side.

It had been hoped first five-eighths Richie Mo'unga would return this week but the site where he had a plate in his jaw hadn't healed sufficiently and a surgeon advised another week would be useful to avoid Mo'unga being out for another month if he were to take a blow on the jaw.

Flanker Tom Sanders is out for three months having reopened his fracture site from his last injury while hooker Ben Funnell had done his ACL and was likely to be out for six to eight months although a final time wouldn't be known until he had undergone surgery to see if there was cartilage damage or a crack in a bone.

Olly Jager, who had been out earlier, has learned he needs a shoulder reconstruction.

As a result of Sanders' injury Hamish Bedwell-Curtis will take a fulltime place in the side.

First five-eighths Mike Delany had thrown back the curtains of time with his performance last week, Robertson said and had unleashed some steps and some long balls that were right on the mark so it had been a quality performance.

At fullback David Havili had taken time to find his rhythm this year and Robertson felt teams had done more homework on him this time around and were not kicking to him in the same way they did last year.

"He hasn't had the chance to counterattack that he had previously but he showed glimpses and his rhythm is coming," he said.

They were conscious of the threat top flanker David Pocock would be for the Brumbies and Robertson said when you knew you were coming up against a player of his quality who could turnover ball, or slow it down, and create scoring chances as a result it was necessary to do your homework on him, as with any world-class player.

"You have to make sure you've got your rucks right, you have to. He's a real talisman for them and a quality footballer," he said.