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Crusaders focused on the Force not play offs

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder

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Article Published: Wednesday 11 July 2012|

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder says the the Crusaders are focused on beating the Force this weekend and that they are not thinking about the play offs just yet.

With just one round of the 2012 Super Rugby regular season left to be played, the Crusaders are one of six battling for four remaining sports in the qualifier round.

Crusaders CEO Hamish Riach said that makes this weekend's match against the Western Force a must-win if Crusaders fans want to see a home quarter-final.

"The Crusaders team, support staff and supporters have so enjoyed having Super Rugby games back in Christchurch this year at the new AMI Stadium in Addington, and none of us would like to believe that this weekend's game will be the final home game of this season. "

"However, if we are to get the opportunity of a quarter final at our new home stadium, the team will need all of the support we can give them this weekend," Riach said.

"There are still tickets available for this game and it would be great if we could pack out the stands and give the team the sort boisterous home crowd it has become accustomed to at the new AMI Stadium."

The only teams so far ensured of a play-off position are the Stormers and the Chiefs - guaranteed South African and New Zealand Conference winners respectively.

Six teams are in contention for the other four berths - the Brumbies, Reds, Sharks, Bulls, Hurricanes and Crusaders. Only three competition points currently separate the Crusaders in fourth place and the Hurricanes in eighth place, so where teams end up on the table will be dependent on not just their own performances but also on other round 18 results. The Crusaders could finish anywhere from fourth to eighth in the standings at the end of the regular season.

Crusaders Head Coach Todd Blackadder reiterated the importance of this weekend's game. "The temptation at this stage of tournament is to start looking too far ahead.

"Play-offs are just around the corner, and it is easy for players and coaches to start thinking about what lies ahead instead of what is directly in front of us. That is a grave mistake to make, so I have made it very clear to the team this week that there is just one focus for the week - and that is the Force game.

"If we are thinking about what may or may not happen the week after, then we have become complacent about what might happen this week. And we know what happens when we let complacency slip in, we have demonstrated it in a couple of our losses this season. "

"We are certainly capable of winning against the Force, but there is no room to let our foot off the pedal this weekend if we want to ensure a qualifier spot," Blackadder said.

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