Crusaders steel for tough test

The Crusaders might be riding high on a six-match Super Rugby winning streak, but flanker Matt Todd says they’re expecting a tough test from the Brumbies in Canberra on Sunday.

The Brumbies have five wins from seven starts, their losses coming against the Stormers and the Chiefs, and Todd says the Crusaders will need discipline and focus if they want to topple the Australian conference leaders.

Negating the danger the well-drilled Brumbies pose on the line-out drive will be key for the Crusaders.

“It’s about not letting them get down into that area,” Todd said.

“We need to be disciplined – they’re very good once they get inside your 22, from those lineout drives or plays off that.”

The Crusaders will be looking to utilise their strength on the counterattack, and Todd says they’ll need to make the most of their chances against the Brumbies who are coming off a gritty 26-20 win over the Waratahs.

“It’s about taking your opportunities, because in games like this you might not get a lot of them.”

The Crusaders have looked dangerous from turnover ball and the return of Israel Dagg from a long-term injury lay-off has further strengthened their back line.

Dagg’s six-month rehabilitation after dislocating his shoulder last year ended against the Jaguares last week, with the fullback scoring two tries in the 32-15 win and setting up a third.

“We’ve got boys at the back that love to counterattack, but at the same time we’ve got to be smart when we do that,” Todd said.

“We don’t want to give away too many penalties in that area and allow the Brumbies to get deep into our half.”

The Crusaders haven’t lost since their 27-21 opening round defeat to the Chiefs back in February and are looking to maintain that winning run as they head into the bye.

“We want to keep momentum going – this is the biggest test we’ve had, and we’ll get a gauge of where we really are.”

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