Crusaders plot plan for post-bye games

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They would take a break, have some family time but then come back on Monday to prepare for the Reds in Christchurch on Friday week.

 

Robertson had confidence as a result of the side's pre-season work that the Crusaders would be clear on what was required for their return in week six.

 

"We're in good spirits, we're having good fun and we're in the hunt," he said.

 

Robertson was delighted to pick up the bonus point as they had not taken chances in the earlier games of the competition and it had required some desperate defence to seal their bonus opportunity in the game.

 

He was delighted with the leadership fullback David Havili (pictured) gave the side. He had been suffering a tight groin recently and had taken a knock to his knee during the game. But he had that strapped and was still able to demonstrate the quality of his skill set. The timing of the bye would be perfect in allowing him some time to recover, he said.

 

 

During the break the team management had plenty to work on. Robertson cited six clean linebreaks in the second half that they didn't utilise but he felt it was a good issue to have.

 

"It's something we'll focus on but keep endorsing the work ethic," he said.

 

The effectiveness against the Highlanders' lineout drive was pleasing and Robertson said one piece of work by flanker Cullen Grace had been perfect in killing a drive and demonstrated how much he had grown since his debut four weeks ago.

 

The other quality Grace brought was a level of spring in his lineout work that was similar to that Kieran Read possessed and he complemented that with good timing ability.

 

Robertson also acknowledged the work of assistant coach Jason Ryan in developing the efficiency of the lineout, which had been crucial in recent weeks. While he was best known as a scrum coach, he was tireless in his lineout work and was something of an unsung hero with the side.

 

The Highlanders when they held onto the ball for sustained periods they proved tough and showed how capable they could be.

 

Halfback Bryn Hall, who took over goal-kicking duties as a result of Havili's groin issues, said he had done some kicking for North Harbour but had done a lot of it during his school years.

 

But he only got notice he could be kicking five minutes before the team ran onto the field. Fellow halfback Mitch Drummond added to the scoresheet later in the game as well and Hall said they often had banter with the side's regular kickers during the week so they weren't without practice.

 

Hall said the missed opportunities in the second half were a recurring theme for the side but going into the next block of games, and toward the end of the season, it would be crucial to be able to finish games.

 

"If we play good teams we are not going to get second opportunities, so we need to fix that pretty quickly," he said.

 

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