Ellison's knowledge of the Rebels to help Crusaders in their finals quest

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Defence coach Tamati Ellison said the loss of points late in games recently had been a hard watch, with the most recent example against the Force costing them an important bonus point.


"We probably have had patches when we've got away in games and haven't been ruthless enough to put the final nail in. It's something we're constantly working on and, hopefully, we get that right this week," he said.


Having spent three seasons with the Rebels as a player, Ellison said he always took an interest in them. They had been a physical side for some time.


"They don't mind hitting things hard so it will be a good battle for us in the 'D'."


He said they were happy with large parts of their defence plan, especially with less experienced squad members coming in and playing their roles well.


Setting the example for those younger players are longer-term players like halfback Mitch Drummond, who became a centurion for the franchise earlier this season, who has signed to stay with the Crusaders until 2024.



Drummond summed that Crusaders' attitude up when telling media that losing the bonus point at the weekend had been like a loss. It had been an odd feeling in the dressing room afterwards, but life was breathed back into their hopes when the Brumbies beat the Hurricanes.


He said playing an afternoon game in Sydney, at Leichhardt Oval, would be the perfect place to chase tries, and bonus points, in their quest to make that final.


First five-eighths Richie Mo'unga, who was named the Crusaders' player of the year, on Tuesday will be back in the side along with lock Sam Whitelock, both having had their rest week.


Among the other award winners at their presentation was: Tamaiti Williams (rookie of the year), Codie Taylor (forward of the year), David Havili (back of the year) and Ethan Blackadder (Champion Crusader of the year).


Coach Scott Robertson said, "While there are a number of players who continue to put their hand up for this team, it was impossible to overlook our award winners this year, who are not only brilliant athletes but they're great Crusader men as well, who care deeply about this team."



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