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Crusaders look to bounce back against Fijian Drua in round three

Crusaders look to bounce back against Fijian Drua in round three

All BlacksMarch 5, 2024

Quickly absorbing the lessons of their second loss (24-37) in three games to the Waratahs will be crucial for the Crusaders as they head to Lautoka seeking their first win in DHL Super Rugby Pacific at the weekend.

It was also the second loss in two games at the start of their defence of the Super Rugby Pacific title.

Coach Rob Penney said, "We started well and then we fell into a bit of a hole, made a few errors, gave away a few penalties. We weren't able to build any momentum on the back of that. So, we felt like we were trying to fight to get momentum, and when we built pressure we released it."

The Waratahs also capitalised on turnovers they won.

But having flanker Dominic Gardiner and Chay Fihaki sin-binned during the first and second halves, respectively, was not ideal, but they were not guilty of deliberate acts.

"The yellow cards were very frustrating given our inability to build momentum. It makes it doubly difficult when you're down a player."

There was still some work to do, but it wasn't always apparent until players performed in a match cauldron, and nurturing and improving them was important. They are talented players, and they would ensure they were not too severely affected by the result.

Captain Scott Barrett said the Crusaders knew the Waratahs' threat, especially around the breakdown. Flanker Charlie Gamble and prop Angus Bell were threats over the ball.

"That's somewhere they targeted and were able to hold us up a wee bit and slowed our ball down and you can't find flow from that. So, it's a little bit frustrating when your breakdown's not where it needs to be."

With two losses as defending champions, it was unfamiliar territory for the side in their recent history.

Barrett said he told the players to look at themselves when reviewing the game and their preparation during the week.

"That starts from myself, my performance and my preparation. So, if everyone within the group does that honestly we'll take the learnings from it will be better. We'll have to be better."

A SUPER round of #SuperRugbyPacific 🤩

Where is your team on the ladder after #SuperRound2024? pic.twitter.com/CAUAEi9hrZ

— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) March 3, 2024

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