Crusaders sound ominous warning to 2023 rivals

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The next six months would see six-time winning coach Scott Robertson putting his thoughts together for campaign No7.

 

"In the off-season, that's when Razor [Robertson] gets his beautiful mind working. I'm sure he'll be thinking up plans and how we can get better next season," Barrett said.

 

Saturday's success came about by taking apart the Blues lineout, one of its areas of success in 2022.

 

"Finals footy is a game about pressure," Barrett said.

 

"That's something we talked about if we could pressure their set-piece. [At] The lineout, we saw a few opportunities if we could get up in the air and get some easy ball, we could accumulate some pressure, and we did that pretty well.

 

"We had a clear plan. We put a lot of time into it, meeting on a day off and throwing out ideas with Quinten Strange and Jason Ryan, and we got the rewards," he said.

 

 

Robertson said the bank of finals success experience was a factor in their win as they had talked about what it required to win a championship and looked at how their other teams had done it. That provided a bridge to how hard it would be to win at Eden Park.

 

"It's special to win at the Garden [of Eden]. We talked about it. It's hard for any team playing the All Blacks, or the Blues, to win here. It's a special place and we had to go to a high level, and we did that," he said.

 

There was also a realisation that, earlier in the season, they hadn't performed as well as they might. Setting themselves to be better than the rest, they showed that in the finals.

 

"When you're getting chased, you've got to be hungry every year, and that's my job – to motivate the boys and find different reasons to dig deep and keep pushing yourself," he said.

 

Robertson also had thoughts for the Blues.

 

"The season the Blues had is incredible, and that's tough. I really feel for them. Leon [MacDonald] is a good mate and a great coach," he said.

 

First five-eighths Richie Mo'unga was a player who thrived on his pack's dominance, a point Robertson acknowledged.

 

"Richie has so much time, you thought he was going to get tackled four or five times, and then his step comes out," he said.

 

He offered a tactical point of difference, and his defensive efforts in the latter stages of the campaign had been world-class, he said.