Cullen says Hurricanes must attack



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Christian Cullen believes the Crusaders are ripe for the taking, but has one piece of advice for the Hurricanes as they head to the Christchurch fortress of AMI Stadium – attack.

“They are the champions and they know how to win down there, so they are a hard team to crack, but if you go down there thinking that you are no show,” Cullen said Tuesday of Saturday’s Super 14 semi-final showdown.

“I’ve always said that to beat them you have to attack them and I think you saw that at the weekend.

“The Highlanders put pressure on them and attacked. That’s how you beat them,” reports RugbyHeaven website.

Cullen scored two tries in a 41-29 win against the Crusaders in 2001 in what is still the only time the Hurricanes have won in Christchurch.

He believes the current team has the arsenal to repeat the feat, but only if it chances its arm. “


A lot of good teams have gone there and come out 30 or 40 points on the other end. They are good at applying pressure, so as a team you have to hang on to the ball.


“I don’t think we attacked them enough when we played them earlier in the year, so hopefully this time we can hold onto the ball and give it to our strike runners and have a crack at them.


“A lot of teams go down there and try to play field position and put the ball down there, but that’s the Crusaders’ game.


“They are the best team around to put pressure on you and wait for you to make mistakes and get the points, so you have to attack.”

Cullen said that meant getting the ball in the hands of Ma’a Nonu, who he believed was in the best form of his career. “Probably the best move they’ve made was moving him into second-five.

He was sort of out there on the wing, not really getting any ball, and he’s our best runner in that backline to break tackles and create space.”

Cullen is also thrilled with the impact of youngsters Zac Guildford and Willie Ripia since they broke into the starting XV later in the season.

“I’m really pleased they gave those two young fellas a run. They have gone really well and I’m sure they will hang around a while and they are the future of the Hurricanes. Zac is a powerful fella and I think if he gets plenty of game time at this level he will go places.

“Willie’s a young fella and he gets the backline going. You need that [confidence]. It’s unfortunate he didn’t get one of those drop goals at the weekend, but another day they will go over.”

Cullen believes the Crusaders are slightly off their game and has no doubt the Hurricanes can beat them.

“I think they are [struggling a bit]. The Reds almost beat them and a few other teams and they lost to the Highlanders. You don’t want to be losing games before a semifinal, do you, so I don’t think they have been going out and holding back purposely.”

Cullen said the Hurricanes would have no trouble getting up for a match he said was always the one he looked forward to most as a player.

“We loved playing the Crusaders, or I did. They were the team to beat. It was like when the Auckland team were at their top and everyone wanted to beat them. I suppose it’s like the All Blacks – when they are on top everyone wants to knock them off.

“If you beat the Crusaders, you know you’ve had a good day at the office.”

Sapa –

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