Blues know Crusaders will be looking to rebound

GettyImages 1205632291


That's the situation the Blues, who enjoyed a rare 32-12 win overseas against the Waratahs last week, will face in Auckland on Friday. The Crusaders lost 15-25 to the Chiefs in Hamilton.


Parsons (pictured) said there was nothing changed in the rivalry with the Crusaders so far as the Blues were concerned. There was an edge to training and Wednesday's non-contact session had turned into a contact affair.


"You always know that that's a sign that the boys are on and wanting to get our prep right so we give ourselves the best opportunity to perform," he said.


And the Blues centurion was delighted to be back amongst the thick of the action having made his first appearance, after injury, coming on as a replacement in Newcastle. It had been like playing his debut game, it had been so long since he played, he said.


The return-to-play protocol he had to go through had not been easy as assistant coach Tom Coventry put returning players through the hoops.


"It's great to be back, I'm really excited. I probably tried to do a bit too much last week so that's my work-on this week, just doing my job for the team and it's especially pleasing to run out in No.2 at home again. It's an exciting prospect," he said.


The win over the Waratahs in Newcastle at the weekend had been massive for the side he said as they didn't want to be two games down.


"We sort of didn't put too much pressure on the outcome last week and it's no different this week. It's all about our preparation. The beauty of a short turnaround is that you don't have to over-think too much, you can just get back out there and play and off the back of a good performance it should flow on against a pretty formidable Crusaders side," he said.


The Blues were not thinking the Crusaders would be down on performers given the loss of All Blacks after the World Cup. There were still All Blacks in the pack and some good younger players who ensured there was quality across the board.


"We know they love coming up against us at Eden Park and making their mark so for us it's just about nailing our stuff and being on the job physically and mentally and making sure we make every post a winner," he said.


Coventry said the Blues needed to be clinical and accurate in their play.


"They [the Crusaders] bring a certain physicality. They get a lot of their mojo from the way their pack operates. It's about meeting that and being able to dominate in those particular areas.


"So there'll be no love lost in that that area so being accurate across the park and making sure we win those physical battles will be pretty important to us," he said.


Coventry was pleased with the way the scrum had started the season and it had provided a platform for the side to attack off.


"We need to be tidier with our lineout and making sure that it is as accurate as the Crusaders' lineout is which they pride themselves on.


"The pack's been working pretty well, the numbers are good, we're ticking off Super Rugby numbers which means we're getting through our work and the boys are sharing the work load so they're all good signs," he said.


"The Crusaders have shown for a while now that when they are under the pump they go to their scrum, they go to their lineout, they try and pick penalties off it, they try and find faults in your concentration levels so we need to be right up there throughout the match.


"We're just looking for parity at the moment and to see if we can be accurate on our ball and see how it happens in that battle," he said.