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Crusaders stand at Super Rugby Pacific crossroads

Crusaders stand at Super Rugby Pacific crossroads

All BlacksApril 22, 2024

Sitting in the rare position at the bottom of the DHL Super Rugby Pacific ladder, the Crusaders must quickly hop back on the horse with a short turnaround before hosting the Rebels in Christchurch on Friday.

Coach Rob Penney described their 15–37 loss to the Force in Perth as the worst they have had this season.

"We weren't good enough. We would get ourselves into positions to be threatening and either give a penalty away or make an error.

"They are two things that we should be able to control.

"If you look at those two stats, 16 penalties and 20 errors was far too many of those controllables that we weren't able to control and we kept releasing pressure."

Penney said those errors were potentially down to the position the side has found itself in.

"Those sorts of external elements create, as you know, pressure moments inside young men's heads and I suspect there is a bit of that."

He wasn't surprised at how the Force played in what locals said was their first 80-minute performance of the campaign.

"They are a quality side. You look through the roster; there's a number of the Waratahs boys I know very well who have embedded themselves here, and they're quality men.

"I knew they'd be threatening and they played really well against the Reds at home not that long ago, so we knew what was coming for us."

Second five-eighths Dallas McLeod suffered popped ribs during the game while captain and flanker Tom Christie played through with a bad haematoma on his quad.

Penney retained some positivity with how his staff were working well and said there were many good things behind the scenes.

"I know it doesn't always appear that way when we've had such a topsy-turvy performance outcome, but there's three of those games, on reflection, and four, that we could easily have won.

"We were in positions, too, and I don't think there'd be any team ripping through the competition. The Hurricanes are unbeaten, but we're one and seven, which could have been slightly different.

"It's not, and that's the reality."

Former Test player Kurtley Beale made his first appearance in the game, and Penney said that as a class player, he would add a lot to the Force over time.

Some HUGE results this weekend but just two teams swapping positions in the end ↕️

Sum up your team's position in the table with a GIF in the comments 👇#SuperRugbyPacific pic.twitter.com/Udz2fAtC4C

— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) April 21, 2024

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