Robertson still remembers last year's loss to Highlanders

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Coach Scott Robertson said the Highlanders played close to the perfect game on that occasion and were almost error-free after coming off a tough week for them.

"It's still fresh in our mind," he said.

"We've had some great rivalry over the years. Under the roof, it's a home game for them. We understand [coach] Tony Brown's mindset, and they can get up, especially for us. 

“They're great games, we love them. They're high-tempo and anything can happen.”

Scott Robertson

Choosing the backline at the moment was as challenging as at any time in his tenure with the side. Not having some All Blacks made it a little easier, but he said it was a long season, and everyone would have an opportunity.

"The depth of your squad is what gets you through," he said.

But there would be an inevitable injury suffered somewhere along the way and there was a chance for players to take opportunities when that happened, he said.

The Crusaders will head back to Christchurch after the game, news received with mixed feelings by the squad. They will return to Dunedin to play their third round game on Friday week against Moana Pasifika.

Restrictions will continue for the players at home, with all outside contact still off-limits.

"It will be good to see family, that's the exciting thing around it," he said.

They had treated the Queenstown bubble like a small tour where there were no distractions. They were rugby focused and could connect as a group.

"There's been a lot of positives but it is time to move on," he said.

The performance of Fergus Burke at first five-eighths against the Hurricanes had been pleasing in Richie Mo'unga's absence. The beauty of Mo'unga's decision to take time out was that it provided a chance for others to get time in the role.

"Ferg's been great, we gave him an objective at the start of the year – 'take the opportunity, it's yours'. He's been sitting there for three years waiting for it," he said.

Robertson said the players had fitted in around him well, and it was up to him to show the consistency of a professional rugby player who backed up every week.

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