Crusaders out to win territory battle

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder believes the best way of beating the Brumbies in the final preliminary round of Super Rugby is to win the territory battle.

The Crusaders have missed qualifying for the play-offs for the first time in 14 years and are playing for pride in Canberra on Saturday.

The Brumbies, who are locked on 47 points with the Waratahs, are looking to top the Australian conference and gain a home semi-final.

The Crusaders have scored the most points in the competition with 444 while the Brumbies have conceded the fewest with 224.

“Against the best defensive team, we have to really try and win the territory game,” Blackadder said.

“We have to make sure we pin them down in their territory.”

Blackadder also wanted his players to be strong in their own defensive duties and be disciplined.

“We have to be incredibly disciplined and not give away penalties so they can kick for the corners,” he said.

“That’s how they score most of their tries – from driving line-outs.”

Blackadder said the Brumbies’ game plan probably mirrored that of the Crusaders.

“I expect they’ll try and pin us and wait for us to make mistakes,” he said.

“Knowing it’s our last game of the season, they may think we’re going to chance our arm and have a crack at everything, but we can’t afford to do that.”

Blackadder said experienced All Black Dan Carter would have a pivotal role.

Since slotting back at first five-eighth, his preferred position, Carter has guided his team around the field.

His tactical kicking played a big part in the decisive wins over the Hurricanes and the Blues in the previous two rounds.

“DC has proved he’s got a good running game, but it’s also just his vision with his kicks, the cross-kicks that defeat the defence,” Blackadder said.

The Crusaders beat the Brumbies 30-23 when they last met in Canberra in 2013 to end a 10-year drought at the stadium.

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