Crusaders ready for southern thriller No.3

Jul 19, 2017 - 12:16 AM The Crusaders need only recall the nature of their two wins over the Highlanders this season to know how tough their Super Rugby quarter-final will be.

It might be second against seventh in terms of the play-off rankings for Saturday's clash in Christchurch but Crusaders assistant coach Leon MacDonald stresses that will count for little.

A Highlanders side who have won 10 of their past 11 games will have a point to prove against the hosts, who scraped to the tightest of wins in both southern derbies during the regular season.

It took a late flurry of Crusaders tries to lift them to a 30-27 victory in round two in Dunedin, having trailed 27-6.

More drama followed last month when Mitchell Hunt's astounding 47-metre dropped goal in the final act was enough for the home side to prevail 25-22.

MacDonald fully expects their play-off fixture to reach a similar climax.

"What a game of rugby it's going to be. If the last two games are anything to go by there will be a bit of drama and a cliff hanger," he told reporters.

"It's just about delivering now and getting out there and doing the job. We didn't do it at the weekend, we're well aware of that."

MacDonald was referring to the final-round 31-22 loss to the Hurricanes in Wellington which left his team second in the overall standings.

Losing their perfect record in the competition didn't concern the former All Blacks fullback.

Both teams will be named on Thursday, with the Crusaders expected to be at full strength.

Their All Blacks starting front row, rested against the Hurricanes, should be reinstated.

Source: AAP

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