Crusaders

Deans fears Brumbies structure

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Refusing to focus upon the play-offs permutations, Crusaders coach Robbie Deans has cited playing the Brumbies in Canberra as “without doubt one of the biggest challenges there is in Super rugby”.

Writing in his regular column for the Crusaders website, Deans says that it is the Brumbies’ nuanced structure, with Larkham and Gregan as generals, that poses the greatest threat to the success of his side.

“The Brumbies are a very clever side who use the width of the field well, while using clever running lines and deceptive angles to manipulate and breach opposing defensive screens,” says Deans.

“Once they get in behind a team, their support play is excellent which allows them to capitalize on any breaks that have been made.

“Central to the control the Brumbies play with is the experienced guidance they receive from George Gregan and Stephen Larkham.

“The most experienced halves pairing in Super rugby, both are quite rightly listed among the greats of the modern game. When they are on song and able to dictate the game, the Brumbies are virtually impossible to stop.”

Deans lauded his side for the “hunger” and “determination” they demonstrated in their win over the Hurricanes. But he also warned that the Brumbies will offer a distinctly different challenge than that of the Hurricanes.

“[The Brumbies] will offer a vastly different approach: in terms of relying far more on deception and structure, and less on the physicality and brute strength that was employed by the Hurricanes.”

Deans warns of the dangers of allowing one’s focus to drift to anything but the fixture ahead.

“One of the real dangers as the campaign counts down towards the championship-deciding games is that you can lose focus on the hurdles that lie immediately in front of you.

“With the public and news media naturally focusing in on the various permutations with regards to the playoffs, such talk can easily infiltrate the playing group, throwing up an unwanted and un-necessary distraction.

“This time of the season can also provide a minefield of other peripheral distractions, such as talk of international selection and potentially heightened media, sponsor and public relations commitments, and all coming at a time when the need for concentration is at its most critical.

“By this stage of competition, the players are all well versed with the methodology of their respective teams.

“If they are not, the chances are that their team hasn’t performed very well.”

Speaking of their success in South Africa, Deans said the Brumbies were definitely one of the form teams of the competition, despite having “flown under the radar of many”.

“Achieving two wins in South Africa was no mean feat this year though, as most teams – ourselves included – found the going tough over there. I understand that, to date, we are the only New Zealand team to have won a match in South Africa this competition.

“Importantly too, the Brumbies backed up their excellent tour form by going on with the job once they got home.

“Their last four wins have been achieved with a minimum of fuss. They have just got the job done and moved on to the next task, which is a characteristic to be admired.

“The emotion of the evening surrounding Larkham and Gregan aside, the Brumbies obviously have the incentive of advancing their semi-final cause as additional motivation.”

 

365 Digital

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