Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson praised Scott Barrett’s captaincy in his side’s 15-3 victory over the Blues in Super Rugby Pacific on Saturday.
The replay of last season’s final was a tightly contested game, and the line-out proved to be a huge influence on the result.
Praise for the captain
Robertson felt his skipper controlled this facet of the game brilliantly and showed impressive composure throughout the clash.
“Scott Barrett’s captaincy was incredible,” Robertson told Sky Sport.
“13 [first-half] line-outs, and he threw all the variations at them. At half-time, he was composed. He knew what we had and hadn’t used and what we were going to do in the second.
“We wanted to make them tackle, and they did.
“The breakdown was where we won lots of little races. We didn’t allow them to get access to our ball.”
Something to work on
Meanwhile, Blues boss Leon MacDonald admitted the line-out is a weakness in his side and with second-row Sam Darry set to be sidelined for a while, he is looking for someone to step up into that void.
“It’s an area that has been an Achilles heel, but with Sam [Darry] in particular, he’s done a really good job in that space. We need somebody to step up and take the reins,” he said.
“We’re doing a lot of good work in that space, but we weren’t quite right; a couple where the throws weren’t quite right, or we didn’t quite get the calling right. It’s an area that’s got to be good if you’re going to win the title at the end of the year.”
The Blues travel to face the Reds in Queensland before two home games against the Hurricanes and Highlanders at the end of the regular season. MacDonald is confident his side will make the play-offs, and from there, anything can happen.
“We’ve got a little run home that’s going to give us an opportunity to make the play-offs, and once you’re in the play-offs, it’s all go, so there’s still plenty to play for,” he said.