Rangy loosehead prop Wyatt Crockett will become the Crusaders’ most-capped player when he packs down against the NSW Waratahs in their Super Rugby clash in Sydney on Saturday.
Crockett, who debuted against the Highlanders in 2006, will make his 152nd appearance, bettering by one the record held by hooker Corey Flynn, whose mark was set in last year’s final loss to the Waratahs.
Flynn is now on a two-year contract with French club Toulouse and Crockett says he has kept in touch.
“I went down in one of the games a few weeks back and he was texting me `I hope you’re not injured and you’re going to be stranded a bit short’,” Crockett said.
The Waratahs won the last year’s final 33-32 with a penalty goal in the last minute after Crusaders flanker Richie McCaw was penalised.
It’s a match both teams desperately want to win.
The Waratahs, with eight wins, sit sixth on the table with 36 points but are two points behind the Brumbies in the Australian conference.
The Crusaders, on 31 points, are ninth overall with a six win-six loss record and cannot afford another loss.
Last year’s defeat in the Sydney final isn’t a focal point leading into Saturday’s game, Crockett says, but he admits the Crusaders still have a point to prove.
“It will give it a bit more added spice.
“But this is a new year and a new season, and we’re in a helluva dogfight to try and make the play-offs,” he said.
“Both teams have a lot to play for and will be desperate.”
Crockett, who has played 36 All Blacks Tests since his 2009 debut, said the Crusaders were treating every game as a final.
“We’ve got to trust the work we’ve done all week. We’ve had a great week of preparation after a bye week where we were able to freshen up.
“We’ve got to go and leave everything out there.”