‘Crusaders are masters of their own destiny’ says Rob Penney after thrashing Rebels

David Skippers
Rob Penney Crusaders coach SRP 2024 - Alamy.jpg

Crusaders head coach Rob Penney.

Crusaders head coach Rob Penney highlighted how important it is that his team do not get ahead of themselves after they got their Super Rugby Pacific campaign back on track with an impressive win over the Rebels on Friday.

The defending champions were in a rampant mood in Christchurch as they ran in six tries en route to a 39-0 victory.

Ahead of the Round 10 Super Rugby Pacific action, Penney‘s troops were rooted to the bottom of the standings but their triumph over the Rebels has seen them jump above the Waratahs and the Western Force into 10th position on the table with 12 points amassed from nine matches played.

Back in play-off race

That puts the Crusaders firmly back in the race for the play-offs as they are just three points adrift of the Highlanders, who currently occupy eighth spot on the table.

And with matches against the Reds, Highlanders, Brumbies, Blues and Moana Pasifika left to play in the league phase of the competition – of which three of those matches will be in Christchurch – they will fancy their chances of reaching the play-offs.

“It’s cliché, isn’t it? But if we do everything right from our end, we are masters of our own destiny,” Penney told Stuff.

“We’ve been good enough to pick up a few bonus points on the way, even with losses. We can take care of the business at our end, then the table will take care of itself and we’ll see where that leaves us.”

Scott Barrett return fires Crusaders to bonus point win over Melbourne Rebels

The Crusaders were without the services of several internationals for most of the season but were bolstered by the return of captain Scott Barrett and David Havili for the Rebels clash and could receive another boost as fellow All Blacks Codie Taylor and Tamaiti Williams could return to action by next week.

Meanwhile, former Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny is also close to making his Super Rugby Pacific debut against the Reds in Christchurch on Saturday after recovering from a pectoral muscle injury.

“I guess there is a few people floating back, it’s the culmination of a lot of work that’s gone in the last couple of months, but it’s only one small step, we know what’s ahead of us and we’re not getting ahead of ourselves,” said Penney.

With the road to the quarter-finals now a much better prospect, Barrett told his team-mates earlier in the week not to panic and think about their position on the table.

‘It’s like scoreboard pressure’

“I spoke to the team this week and said it’s like scoreboard pressure,” he said after the win over the Rebels.

“There is plenty of time on the clock, we can’t get too far ahead of ourselves. Be patient and play your game.

“If we continue like we did tonight, potentially the result will look after itself. But that’s one week out of six and there is a long way to go. Hopefully it’s a step in the right direction.”

READ MORE: ‘We’re learning’ says Scott Barrett as Crusaders’ win over Rebels keeps their Super Rugby Pacific play-off hopes alive