Blues look to break 18-year drought in Christchurch

After providing coach Leon MacDonald with what he called the best effort of his tenure when beating the Chiefs last weekend, the Blues have to take another step up against the standard setters of the competition.


Assistant coach Tom Coventry summed up the requirement when saying, "You've got to go down there and play, do what you need to do, play your own game, and take confidence in what's gone on before.


"The key is to stick to your guns and go down with the right attitude," he said.


The win over the Chiefs had been a confidence boost.


"At times, we were under the pump, with 13 men at one stage, and to hold the Chiefs scoreless is a good sign," he said.


But confidence was only one part of the equation, and they still faced a big task on the Crusaders' midden.


Captain Dalton Papalii said it was a case of starting again after their win over the Chiefs.

"We take what we did well, tweak it a little bit, improve it, but that's in the past now. We've got to go out there and do the same again. Belief is a big part of it.


"We haven't beaten them down there in a while [2004] and to take what we did last week and bring it into this week is a big confidence boost for us. We've got to go there and do our jobs," he said.


That reflected the winning formula the Crusaders have enjoyed since their earliest days, something Coventry said was a standard other franchises aspired to match.


"They're the team that's had successive victories in championships. Teams have been chasing them for a long time.


"But, history need to be changed sooner or later. It's our turn to have a go. We respect them, and everything they've done, but there are some good signs there we've been on the improve," he said.


"They're well-coached, and Razor [coach Scott Robertson] has done a great job of bringing in assistants to make sure that environment stays strong. And they recruit well. They've been able to use Tasman and Canterbury as nesting grounds for the young fellows coming through.



"When you've got a confident, winning environment, it oozes into the pores of the young fellows coming in. It's easy to maintain success when you continue to put time and effort into your young men," he said.


It is a formula other franchises have been attempting to replicate.


One member of the Blues' side who has intimate knowledge of the opposition aura is lock Luke Romano, who transferred to Auckland for the season.


Coventry said Romano had provided the less experienced Blues side with a perspective on what it requires to be part of successive championship-winning sides.


"He's been a fantastic addition to our team and has brought so much experience and knowledge he's willing to share. He's been the benchmark down there for so long it's nice to have him in our camp.


"He hasn't spoken too much about the Crusaders. That's a team from the past. He's just concentrating on doing his role within our team," he said.


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