McCaw: Hunger got Chiefs home

Getty Images     28 Jul 2012     Getty Images

The Chiefs defensive effort had forced the Crusaders into a lot of mistakes and they hadn't been able to get their game going.

The Chiefs hunger had been what the Crusaders demonstrated against the Bulls last weekend but on the night the red-and-blacks fell below their effort of last week.

"In big games like that you have got to get that right," he said.

McCaw said if the Chiefs could back up the performance they could claim the Super Rugby title. That was the challenge for any team, backing up from one week to another, he said.

"That's the big thing in sport, is being able to back performances up and if they can do that there is no reason why they can't win again."

McCaw said the side had been looking to land a dropped goal in the last moments but had not been able to get into the right position and the Chiefs defended that area very well.

Coach Todd Blackadder said they had plenty of opportunities in the second half but poor execution, crossings and the like had hurt the side.

"We were too error-ridden to have won the game tonight," he said.

McCaw said the issue with missed tackles by the side in the first half had resulted from the players being too slow to get into position to make the tackles.

"They ran particularly hard. They've got guys like Sonny [Bill Williams] and Liam [Messam] and Co. And they are good ball carriers and when you are caught flat-footed they are hard men to tackle," he said.

They had talked about how they were going to achieve that and they needed to get into position quicker but when they were going backwards that was harder to do.

The loss of lock Luke Romano with an AC joint problem 14 minutes into the game had disrupted the side. He had been playing well and lent a physical edge to the side both with the ball in hand and without and it diminished the Crusaders' capacity in that area, McCaw said.

Blackadder said he thought the Crusaders had absorbed a lot of pressure during the game and were in it until the end but where they had let themselves down was in their inaccuracies.

"I think it just comes down to those little moments, you've got to get those little things right and if they don't come off they can hurt you," he said.

"It hurts to lose. It hurts when your team doesn't perform as well as you prepared them. But that's sport and that's life, you've got to accept it. We had our chance and the Chiefs certainly deserved their victory tonight, you can't take anything away from them."