Crusaders happy for more rugby in the rain

Jul 27, 2017 - 5:43 AM Having dominated in the wet to make Super Rugby's last four, Crusaders coach Scott Robertson is happy for the weather gods to dish up more of the same for their semi-final against the Chiefs.

The seven-time champions have home-ground advantage on Saturday night in Christchurch and the build-up this week has featured more rain, but Robertson isn't complaining.

"The wetter, the better," he said on Thursday.

"We're from the deep south and it's raining, and you embrace and enjoy it."

Against the Highlanders last Saturday, the Crusaders' pack paved the way for a 17-0 victory on a waterlogged pitch.

The New Zealand Conference winners will start firm favourites against a Chiefs team, forced to cross the Indian Ocean twice in seven days.

The Chiefs will also have to adjust to conditions different from the hard and fast surface in Cape Town, where they beat the Stormers 17-11 in their quarter-final.

With no injury concerns, Robertson has stuck with the same starting XV and bench, after what he describes as the easiest selection meeting we've had.

It means Bryn Hall again will run out at halfback, while season regular Mitchell Drummond will provide back-up.

"We're really fortunate - we've probably got the best No.9 and 21 in the comp," Robertson said.

"It's tough, especially tough on Drummy, because he's an absolute champion. We love him and he knows he's got a role in our side."

Hooker Codie Taylor will also have no qualms if it is another soggy contest.

He admitted it was pretty horrendous against the Highlanders but it was something the Crusaders had prepared for.

"We looked at it as a game where it would be terrible weather, rather than it might be," the 19-Test All Black said.

"I think that was the difference for us. We had a real strategic plan in terms of if it was wet and we nailed it."

"I think we learnt a lot in the way we wanted to kick and play with the ball," Taylor said.

"We might expect a bit of rain on Saturday and, hopefully, we can get it right again."


David Havili, Israel Dagg, Jack Goodhue, Ryan Crotty, Seta Tamanivalu, Richie Mo'unga, Bryn Hall, Kieran Read, Matt Todd, Jordan Taufua, Sam Whitelock (capt), Scott Barrett, Owen Franks, Codie Taylor, Joe Moody.

Res: Ben Funnell, Wyatt Crockett, Michael Alaalatoa, Luke Romano, Pete Samu, Mitchell Drummond, Mitch Hunt, George Bridge.

Source: AAP

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