Crusaders look to move Sharks around

The Crusaders see width as key to unlocking a defence that has helped to make the Sharks the only unbeaten team in Super Rugby.

The Sharks have begun the season with three wins and a 16-16 draw with the Bulls last weekend, when Joe Pietersen missed a simple post-hooter penalty to make it a fourth victory.

In compiling their record, they have conceded an average of 13 points, the second lowest behind the Stormers.

Crusaders lock Scott Barrett says his side will try to counter that stingy defence in Durban on Sunday morning (AEDT) with some expansive play.

“Something we’ve picked up is that teams who have tried to take them on, particularly up front, have been pretty one-dimensional in that,” he said.

“We’ll try and shift the ball around, play a bit.”

The 22-year-old Barrett, who is in his second full season in Super Rugby, has got the nod in the starting 15 ahead of All Black Luke Romano, who will provide impact off the bench.

He is bracing for the physical encounter that South African sides traditionally provide.

“It’s pretty simple, their mindset is to run over the top of you,” he said.

As for the Sharks’ set-piece and mauling prowess, Barrett said discipline would be important so they didn’t get the chance to kick to the corner from penalties.

After opening with a defeat to the Chiefs, the Crusaders have beaten the Blues and Southern Kings on either side of a bye to be third in the New Zealand conference.

The upcoming match is their first away from Christchurch this year, and they know their hosts are itching for revenge.

At the same Kings Park venue last April, the Crusaders, down to 12 men at one stage, hammered the Sharks 52-10.

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder can understand that the home side is still hurting, but for him that match is history.

“This is a new team, it’s 2016 and we haven’t played the Sharks yet,” he said.

“We’re certainly not buoyed by last year’s result. That’s well in the past. We’re focusing on a team that is unbeaten in this year’s competition.”

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