Nucifora wary of Crusaders backlash

Blues coach David Nucifora is wary of a Crusaders backlash after they were beaten last week by the Chiefs and concedes that his team have been searching for a spark to reignite their season after back-to-back losses.

“We just aren’t playing at our best at moment,” he told the NZHerald.

“We’ve tinkered with a few selections and we are not far off it. You have only got to look at the other results in this competition – we got criticised and called lucky when we beat the Bulls and the Stormers, and the Stormers are now sitting third on the table.

“There are no poor teams, you just have a very slim margin for error.


“If you are only a few per cent off your best you are going to get beaten. That is where we have been. We have got to turn it around.

If Nucifora is right then the Blues picked up a few per cent in their favour when Casey Laulala, one of the form centres of the competition, was withdrawn by the Crusaders and replaced by Caleb Ralph.

Ralph doesn’t possess the physical threat posed by Laulala and while he is a solid player he does not come up with as many surprises as his opposite number Anthony Tuitavake.

“We put a lot of work into the preparation for this game and we’ll be out there giving it our best shot.” added Nucifora.

The Blues need a win this weekend and Nucifora says that the Chiefs win over the Crusaders was a double edged sword for the Blues.

“You can look at it a couple of ways; it wasn’t great for us for [the Chiefs] to get the points but they exposed some things in the Crusaders as well. But obviously the Crusaders will have their eye back on the ball this week.”

He hoped the prospect of facing the old enemy would provide the spark his team has been lacking.

“The boys will have no trouble getting up for the game, there is no doubt about that. It is a big challenge for us and if anything is going get us up it will be this.”   

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