Discipline the key for Crusaders in finals

Jul 24, 2017 - 9:55 PM The Crusaders have no doubt that winning an eighth Super Rugby title will boil down to discipline.

All of their big games this season have been swung by the penalty count and assistant coach Jason Ryan is sure that will be the case in Saturday's clash with the Chiefs in Christchurch.

The teams' only meeting this season, in Suva two months ago, was an even, free-flowing affair won 31-24 by the Crusaders.

The Chiefs scored four tries to three but were hammered by the whistle, allowing Richie Mo'unga to kick four unanswered penalties.

The need for discipline has been hammered home several times since.

It let the Crusaders down when strangled by the British and Irish Lions in June and then again in the final-round loss to the Hurricanes two weeks ago.

The response was emphatic in last week's 17-0 quarter-final demolition of the Highlanders, when obeying the laws was high on the priority list.

"We learned some lessons against the 'Canes which will hopefully make us better for finals footy," Ryan said.

"It showed in the penalty count for us. I think we only had two penalties against us in the first half and not a lot for the whole game (six)."

Ryan says he has no problem being refereed this week by leading Kiwi official Glen Jackson, who pinged them 15 times in the loss to the Hurricanes.

Ryan also squashed suggestions his pack can steamroll the Chiefs front eight as efficiently as they achieved against the Highlanders.

He was impressed by the two-time champions' gutsy 17-11 defeat of the Stormers in Cape Town, noting it was built around their ferocity and efficiency in the collision.

All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick is a key figure for them, he added.

"What the Chiefs have shown is a lot of grit. They have gone over to Africa and beaten a pretty good Stormers outfit, done the job. It will build confidence for them," Ryan said.

"Their set piece, in particular, is going well. Brodie is a real enforcer for them at lineout time and around the track. And their scrum is going good."

Source: AAP

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