Deans to ‘tackle’ Crusaders’ poor defence

Crusaders coach Robbie Deans has made it a priority to “tackle” his team’s poor defence, following the defending Super 14 champions’ 34-25 loss to the Blues in a Round One match at the weekend.

Speaking after the match Deans made it obvious he was not happy with the 32 missed tackles by his team, which certainly contributed to their first defeat in New Zealand in almost three years.

“One aspect of our performance that we’ll definitely be addressing this week is our tackling,” Deans said, as he looked forward to his team’s Round Two encounter with the Reds in Christchurch on Saturday.

“In Auckland [against the Blues], we missed too many first up one on one tackles, and were made to pay heavily for that.

“Tackling is very much an individual discipline.

“You can train together as much as you like as a group, but it still comes down to the individuals on the paddock to contribute, and to make their tackles count.

“Too often against the Blues, we were guilty of going too high and being pushed off, which resulted in the disturbingly high collective missed tackle count. Hopefully you will not see numbers that high against us again in the campaign.”

While Deans was disappointed, he said he regarded the game as a “platform” from which his side could build for the rest of the campaign.

“It’s always disappointing to lose, but there were a lot of positives to come out of the match. We will take those with us and try to add to them.

“Our start could have been better, but the performance [at Eden Park, against the Blues] has at least provided us with a platform from which we can build heading into the rest of the Super 14 campaign.

“While you can do a lot of preparation during the pre-season, there really is no way to replicate the level of intensity and physicality that exists once the competition itself actually kicks off.

“That made last Friday night’s game against the Blues a new experience for some of our guys, and I wasn’t disappointed with their commitment, or the overall effort that the team put in.

“Our set piece work was essentially okay, but the Blues shaded us in the contact area at the breakdowns. That is something we will need to address as effectiveness there is critical to sustain a game based on continuity.

“This weekend we return home to face the Reds, who will travel across the Tasman with confidence after their good win in Brisbane against the Hurricanes last Saturday night.

“We have a long established rivalry with the Reds. The contests are always close and hard fought. They’ve certainly never made it easy, and this season will be no different.

“Last year’s game in Brisbane was a real dog fight, and while we got away with it comfortably in the end, Queensland pressured us for much of that game and actually had their noses in front at halftime.”

365 Digital

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