Deans happy with Crusaders’ progress

Crusaders coach Robbie Deans is so pleased with fitness levels that he expects the majority, if not all, of his 28-man squad and wider training group players to appear in the Crusaders pre-season fixtures.


One of which will be played next Friday in Motueka against the Hurricanes.

The match will be played over four 25-minute quarters and the new Experimental Law Variations (ELV) will be used so that the players can get used to them.

Many of the Australian players have played under the new rules ELV’s in the now defunct Australian Rugby Championship so the Crusaders are doing what they can to learn the new rules.

Referee Chris Pollock will take the squad for three sessions next week and he will also take control the Motueka match.

The Crusaders coaches have also spoken to Canterbury B coaches Viv de Beus and Wayne Burleigh who took part in a tournament last year using the rules. All the ELVs were used in that competition but the hands in the ruck ruling has been left out for the Super 14.

“We have made the best guess about how it will manifest itself and have prepared with that in mind,” Deans told the Stuff website.

He expects to know more from the matches against the Force and the Waratahs next month. “I guess all will be revealed in Australia.”

Despite some of his players like Crusaders forwards Mose Tuiali’i, Corey Flynn and Michael Paterson having had off-season surgery they should appear in the warm up matches.

The Crusaders pre Super 14 season also sees them playing the the Western Force in Melbourne on February the 2nd and the Waratahs in Sydney on February the 7th before they kick off the Super 14.

Tuiali’i had back surgery following the Air New Zealand Cup, while Flynn and Paterson had groin operations to ensure they were fully fit before the Crusaders’ first match against the Brumbies at AMI Stadium on February 15.

The amount of work that Tuiali’i is doing is being monitored but Deans says he should be fit to play in the pre-season match.

One player who may present a problem is wing Kade Poki, who should have a scan on his back after recently injuring it in training.

“It could be an issue. It is to rule out anything sinister basically. If there is nothing sinister he will just ease his way back into training.” Deans said.  

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