Blackadder on the edge of rare Super Rugby feat

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder says that his team has all of the necessary qualities to emulate former Crusaders Super Rugby title winning teams of the past.

Blackadder led the Crusader to three of their seven titles and is in line to become the first person to win the title as a player and as a coach.

The Crusaders coach has been in charge of the Crusaders since 2009 but in six seasons he has yet to win a Super Rugby title.

Forty-two-year-old Blackadder won titles with the Crusaders between 1998 and 2000 and he thinks his current players have what it takes to win the side’s eighth title.

“They’ve shown all the fighting characteristics. We’ve been through a lot as a team this year,” Blackadder told Reuters.

“We haven’t had a dream run at all. We’ve had to work hard for everything that we’ve got and we’ve been written off. But the guys have stuck to it, they’ve worked hard for each other.

“If I look at all the characteristics that you want in a really good Crusaders team, I see it in this team, I definitely do.”

Blackadder’s belief comes from the way that the Crusaders started slowly and have worked their way to the final despite being without flyhalf Dan Carter, captain and number eight Kieran Read as well as flanker Richie McCaw for much of the season.

All three players have returned for the Crusaders in time for the play offs and are among five Crusaders players who featured for the side when they won their last Super Rugby title in 2008.

Ironically the Crusaders face the Waratahs who they won their last title against but this time the Waratahs will have home advantage.

“We’ve been in this position before with some of these players but I think this year we’ve also got a lot of good young guys who are hungry and have been doing the yards this year,” Blackadder added.

“So I think experience counts on these big occasions but the want and desire’s got to be there from everyone.”

While the Crusaders have not won a title since 2008 they have been regulars in the play offs and in 2011 the reached the final only to be beaten 18-13 by the Reds in Brisbane.

In 2012 and 2013 they were knocked out in the Semi-finals by eventual champions the Chiefs but Blackadder says that this year having a home Semi-final and fewer off-field distractions they are in a much stronger position.

“When I reflect on that, we travelled around the world three times,” he said.

“We played some fantastic football to get to the final and then all the emotions came to a head that week. “

“We flew back from Cape Town to Brisbane and we were talking about the earthquake, and it means a lot to all of us. “

“And during that game, we just didn’t get our basics right … and we probably could have been put away by more to be honest.”

Blackadder said he feels the Crusaders have been improving week by week and captain Kieran Read agrees.

“We’ll have to be better this week than we were last week and we’ve got to put our best game out there this week if we want to win,” Read said.

The Crusaders coach is not on the line in Saturday’s Super Rugby title but as the the side have won seven titles but none under his guidance the longer the wait the precarious his position becomes.

“I would dearly love to be part of one but I’m not going to get ahead of myself,” he said.

“You can’t hang your whole life on it.”

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