Pressure rising for the Crusaders ahead of final

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Robertson said he knew where McMillan was coming from with his statement, it was good banter, but he acknowledged finals were all about pressure.


"Experience counts, but it is still on the night. We know that at 7.05pm we need to be on and to be at our best. We know that experience and being in games does count, but you have still got to be at your best at that time," he said.


Finals were a great opportunity to test yourself and your team and what you were about, and it was a great spectacle for fans, he said.


While critics predicted the Crusaders were on the down after losses during the second round, Robertson said they felt they were still in the hunt.


The intensity of the second round, when every game was like a final, was so high, and each week had a special meaning, which meant the pressure was relentless.


The Chiefs were good at staying in games, he said. They scrapped hard, they cared for each other, and they played some tough rugby. It was always the way that a couple of moments could turn a game. In their last contest, in Hamilton, the Chiefs got a couple of those moments, and they got in front.


"That's how tight it is, there was a finals feeling then, like there is this week," he said.

Discipline would also be important because, depending on the nature of the game, there were likely to be more penalty goals than tries.


Robertson said there was no consideration to starting Ennor, instead of Leicester Fainga'anuku, who has played at centre since injury forced Jack Goodhue from the role.


"Leicester has been fantastic at centre, one of the form players in the comp. The reason Braydon is going to come off the bench is just to add that experience for us, and that depth required at the end of the game," he said.


Another selection consideration was in the front row, where the Crusaders were down on experience due to Joe Moody's foot injury. Michael Alalaatoa remains at tighthead with 140kg Tamaiti Williams heading Isi Tuungafasi on the substitutes' bench.


Robertson said: "He's [Williams] pretty unique that he can play both sides of the scrum. Big man, big impact, too. He can play rugby with and without the ball. He can put a hit on, and when he carries, he carries. He's a great impact for us.


"He's still learning his craft as a professional, and, I think, the last month to six weeks, he's come into his own. He's got his off-field sorted, and he's training really well," he said.


Williams' advance had been impressive, especially as he was a converted No8. When he got it right, he had the potential to have a damaging impact.


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