The Crusaders are vowing to make amends for a miserable Pacific experience when they host the injury-riddled Melbourne Rebels in Christchurch.
Coach Todd Blackadder says motivation won’t be a problem for Saturday’s game against the 12th-placed visitors after their 23-13 loss to the Chiefs in Fiji last week – a pivotal result at the top of the New Zealand conference.
Their timing was awful two rounds out from the play-offs, dropping from first overall to third, two points behind South Africa’s Lions and one point behind the Chiefs.
Blackadder lamented a performance laden with mistakes and poor option-taking in rain-hit Suva, which could prove costly when the final play-off makeup is confirmed.
“We can’t afford to look back but that was a big opportunity missed. This team was down on Monday and deservedly so,” Blackadder said.
“That was probably our most disappointing performance of the year. We’ve lost other games but we’ve really fronted.”
The Rebels have been forced to name a severely weakened team because of injuries and, coming off four losses from their last five games, face a stiff task to repeat last year’s 20-10 upset win in Christchurch.
However, Blackadder says complacency won’t be an issue as he demands an emphatic performance from his side, openly admitting a four-try bonus point is also one of their targets.
“We’re going to come out firing regardless of where they’re at. The psychology games won’t work with us this week.
“We need to put in a performance that we’re proud of because we didn’t do that last week.”