Ashley-Cooper extra motivated for final Crusade

Wallabies and Waratahs centre Adam Ashley-Cooper says that he is ready for this weekend’s match against the Crusaders which could be the last time he faces the Christchurch side.

Playing against the Crusaders is special for Ashley-Cooper as he made his debut against the team in 2005 and it was the Crusaders who the Waratahs beat in last year’s final.

This weeekend’s match won’t have the same significance as the last time the two sides met but as Ashley-Cooper is leaving the Waratahs at the end of the season he might not be able to play them again.

For Ashley-Cooper, the veteran utility back is hoping the occasion might just give him the extra motivation needed for a win.

“Yeah well it’ s always nice going into a match knowing that it could be your last against a certain team and one that I’ ve had very good battles with over the last decade,” Ashley-Cooper said on the Waratahs site.

“I’ ve always enjoyed playing the Crusaders, they play good football and I’ ve always enjoyed my football against them so I’ ll be going into Saturday’ s night clash with I guess that little bit of extra motivation knowing it will be my last against them and how much respect I have for them.”

With the current Super Rugby standings how they are with four rounds left, a Waratahs win will lift them into top spot on the Australian conference and make the task of the Crusaders reaching the finals series highly improbable.

But with the finals series more than a month away, the Waratahs’ outside-centre is taking each match as a game-by-game proposition.

“Well with four games to go, two points behind the Australian conference leaders, it always going to be a tight finish,” Ashley-Cooper said.

“At the end of the day we need to win four from four to really secure our spot and that’ s the only way you look at it.

“Without getting too ahead of ourselves we’ ve got the Crusaders this week, one of the best teams in the competition and one of the best teams in New Zealand so we just have to put all our focus and all of our concentration into that before we can start thinking about points and ladders and finals.”

Baring that in mind, Ashley-Cooper said the Waratahs would need to be on high-alert for the strong counter-attacking play the Crusaders thrive on so much.

He also said that for the Waratahs to win, the team would need to turnaround their untidiness around the ruck and focus on greater precision and detail.

“I think that for us it’ s just tiding up our attacking ruck detail,” he said.

“One, its ball security so it’ s just a simple skill of ball placement, it’ s probably letting us down a little bit. The guys are certainly working on it, our ball presentation, but that is still an area that we need to tidy up.

“And probably just our attacking ruck support. We’ ve played Australian teams that have been hard on our ball and the Crusaders will probably do something similar.”

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