Goodhue gets the tick on return for the Crusaders

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Goodhue had been out for just over 12 months with the most severe knee injury possible.

But after the game, Robertson said: "It was exceptional wasn't it, the skill-set. I thought he was tough on a lot of the carries. He made some good decisions on the field, so we're pleased for him that he could get such a positive start."

How that affected his opportunities over the next few weeks would depend on achieving a balance between how his knee reacted, training during the week and building his load, he said.

The game had been one of frustration, especially during the first half.

"We made so many opportunities we didn't know which ones to take. We probably complicated a few things where more of our mindset was to complete them and put pressure on them straight away.

"We got there in the end. The frustration could have got to us, but we kept a clear head," he said.

After their loss to the Blues a week earlier, they wanted to do little things well, and not achieving that consistently could have been an issue. However, that wasn't the case, and it was also disappointing letting the Rebels in for a couple of tries late in the game.

"We want to be quite ruthless around finishing games," he said.

Lock Sam Whitelock showed his experience coming back from his broken finger to play the full 80 minutes.

"He's experienced, straight into a great level of footy, did some great things out there. He's a world-class lock who leads extremely well," he said.

Zach Gallagher and Dom Gardiner also continued to impress with their contributions.

Hooker and captain Codie Taylor said being the last game of a big weekend of rugby, they expected the hometown Rebels to come out and fire some shots with some physicality.

"But we didn't complete, didn't execute or complete, and finish, but [I'm] still proud of how we came back in that second half," he said.

"It was very frustrating but I think the way we talked about resetting in that second half, when we knew that if we could multi-phase, and complete those, we could score some points. I think we did that, and the impact boys did their job and nailed it," he said.

Taylor said having 23 days in Australia allowed the players to work on their skill sets. They hadn't showcased those skills on Sunday, but they could build on that so, when they returned to Christchurch, they would be playing different rugby.

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