"We know what's coming" - Scott Robertson ahead of Brumbies clash

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With a playing career full of contests against the first great Brumbies teams, he understands the intent their modern version bring to the game.

 

With several Wallabies in the side, they had a tough and experienced forward pack with an international halfback and first five-eighths pairing. The team played a 'clear, simple power game'.

 

"We know what's coming, but you've just got to stop them. They go at you," he said.

 

"Some round-robin games are bigger than normal, especially when it's coming down to the pointy end. We're two and three on the ladder, so the equation is pretty simple round the result for the backend with only a couple of games after this," he said.

 

The two teams had a great history of rivalry, and Robertson said his job as coach was to learn from that history and keep teaching it.

 

"There's been some great games, and I am sure this will be another," he said.

 

The build-up to this year's game is similar to what Robertson experienced as a player in the Canberra final in 2000. It was their third consecutive final, and as a team the Crusaders made nearly 400 tackles on a freezing night with a team laden with All Blacks against a Brumbies team with many Wallabies.

 

 

The weekend win over the Force, after the earlier loss to the Waratahs, was important to the side especially in the way they put distractions from Covid interruptions aside.

 

Selection for Friday's game was determined by the expectation of a lot of kicking from the Brumbies. Halfback Nic White was kicking 'helium balloons that float around', and they needed to be able to cope with them, he said.

 

Blindside flanker Pablo Matera's play had become instinctive, he said.

 

"The thinking part has gone now. His understanding, his comprehension of our calls and how quick it comes. Now he's playing and running onto the ball and that little hit-spin and fend that he does – he plays with a unique style and is very impressive," he said.

 

Robertson said talk of changes on the world rugby scene was well-timed, and it was important the two hemispheres got more aligned.

 

"If every Test match has got a purpose and it is leading to an outcome it makes sense," he said.

 

Robertson was also keen to see a club championship involved in any changes.

 

Time without South Africa in Super Rugby was starting to make itself felt.

 

Robertson said in the first year, when Covid interrupted the system, New Zealand teams didn't miss the South Africans due to the intensity of the Aotearoa competition.

 

The two competitions in 2021 were contested, but it was around that time he started to feel their absence.

 

"You realised when you looked over your shoulder and you watched them play those Test matches that their mentality to the game, their style and their strengths is what makes our game great. The different style, the different flow and different game - when we play them we are better for it so we do miss them," he said.

 

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