Crusaders hold clear the air meeting

The Crusaders squad held an open and honest squad meeting on Monday morning which had them in renewed spirits and back on track to recapture the winning feeling against the Blues on Anzac Day.

After Friday’s loss to the Chiefs, Crusaders coach Robbie Deans gathered the team before their first training session of the week to share their thoughts and to adjust the focus firstly to the Blues, then the run-in to earning a home semi-final.

Greg Somerville rated the meeting as a very worthwhile exercise as they broke down the 5-18 defeat at Waikato Stadium to the Chiefs.

Somerville feels that the Crusaders first loss this year could end up being a blessing in disguise in the long run.

“It was pretty honest and open, we got it out there and talked about a few things,” Somerville told Sportal.

“It’s been a good meeting, the boys responded well and it’s what needed to come back to earth a bit.”

“We definitely needed it. We were pretty slack on the weekend but it’s not going to hurt us – it’s a bit of a reality check and if you can’t respond to that then there’s something wrong.”

Along with the realisation that the Crusaders ‘were not unbeatable’, the All Black prop said the main topic of discussion focused on a lack of hunger at the contact area where the Chiefs ‘were a lot more desperate and enthusiastic than us’.

“We didn’t rise to the occasion. They wanted it more than us and it was pretty disappointing on our behalf with our attitude and as things grew we died and we didn’t respond to what the Chiefs brought to us.”

Just as the Chiefs did last week the Crusaders opposition this week , the Blues will be coming off a bye and they are expected to hold a similar determination to the one that got the Chiefs over the line as they too look to keep their play off hopes alive.

The Crusaders have their own motivation as was discussed in their Monday meeting where they have targeted a home semi-final to avoid last year’s fate in tripping at the penultimate hurdle when beaten by the Bulls in Pretoria.

“You’re always targeting to make the semis and then if you can get a home one it’s always a bonus to play in front of your home crowd,” Somerville said.

“It’s going to be a real race in the last four rounds to see who makes the semis and gets home spots.”   

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