Crusaders sweating on Sam Whitelock and Ryan Crotty

Date published: March 14 2018

The Crusaders are awaiting word on how captain and lock Sam Whitelock and inside centre and vice captain Ryan Crotty come through concussion protocols ahead of Saturday's game with the unbeaten Highlanders in Dunedin.

Both players left the field early in their loss to the Hurricanes in Wellington at the weekend.

Crusaders assistant coach Brad Mooar said everyone was a key player in the side but to lose the captain and vice captain a couple of minutes into the game against a side like the Hurricanes meant they were going to be severely tested.

"That's a lot of leadership gone pretty quickly, a couple of hundred games plus but we learnt plenty from it and there will be plenty of growth out of that," he told the All Blacks' official website.

"Losing was something that happened in sport, no-one went through anything without losing at some stage.

"They were not happy with handling mistakes at crucial times and the penalties they conceded. They're all errors that end up in turnovers," he said.

"They all had to be looked at in their own situation because they were caused by different circumstances.

"A lot of it for us is that we were put under pressure," added Mooar.

"The first 20 minutes obviously we didn't have any ball and then we started to get back into the game and find our rhythm. We certainly had our opportunities and have only got ourselves to blame for the result in the end.

"Our job is to look at the performance, not the result itself and work out what did we do well and what didn't we do well and how can we learn from that. What's important to us to get right for this week to put on a performance this week we're proud of against the Highlanders."


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