Super 14
Blackadder expecting tough Reds test
February 17, 2010
Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder arrives for a training session, Rugby Park, Christchurch, New Zealand, February 16, 2009
Todd Blackadder is expecting a tough examination for his Highlanders side © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Todd Blackadder | William Blackadder
Tournaments/Tours: Super 14

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder is preparing for a tough showdown against the Reds in Brisbane on Friday, maintaining that his side cannot rest on their laurels after opening their account with an enjoyable win over the Highlanders in round one.

Blackadder's men returned from Ballymore with an eight point defeat and some bruised bodies in a pre-season game and is expecting more of the same after the Reds saw victory snatched from their grasp by the Waratahs in the final play of the game last weekend.

"They're a big, tough, physical side," Blackadder said. "They gave us a curry up to be honest in the pre-season game and taught us a real lesson with their aggressive forward play.

"They drive a lot and they took it to us and smashed into the rucks. They've got good line speed to put you under pressure. They are raw, hungry and dangerous and if we're not on our game we'll get tipped over."

While victory over the Highlanders provided the ideal start for last season's semi-finalists, Blackadder was unhappy with several aspects of their play. The former All Black skipper pinpointed the breakdown as a vital phase this weekend but was pleased with the manner in which the new tackle laws opened up the game in their opener.

"I thought we got caught out defensively on the inside pass a few times and we have to show a little more patience when attacking and make sure we're solid at the breakdown where we were a little vulnerable at times," he said. "People loved the spectacle and our players really enjoyed it and I think it will get better and better throughout the competition. It rewards teams that are positive and who are prepared to attack.

"If you play within the laws you get the rewards. It's brought more structure - nobody is talking about the scrums after week one; last year they were still talking about them after week 13."


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