Deans wants Crusaders to up the urgency



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Robbie Deans is understandably keen to put the shock defeat to the Highlanders behind him but has to keep referring to it when asked about the need for focus this week.

“If we don’t have the urgency and the excitement, we’ll come a distant second,” Deans told AAP.

“That’s just the reality, but I’m sure it will be there … we’re not going to spend any time looking back.

“We’ll obviously take some messages out of it and hopefully take some meaning out of it.”

Fullback Leon MacDonald was more blunt about the performance, suggesting the players were stung by their limp 12-point defeat.

“They (Highlanders) had no tomorrow basically, and they came out and played like that.

“We thought we were ready for them but we just didn’t match them intensity-wise and we were made to look silly.”

Deans did not want to blame his senior players for the lacklustre final-round performance, even though All Blacks such as five-eighth Daniel Carter, lock Ali Williams and flanker Richie McCaw played well below their lofty standards.

“Everyone has the opportunity to initiate,” Deans said.

Centre Casey Laulala and flanker Kieran Read are likely to return this week but Deans said a hardening of resolve would be more important than any change to personnel or tactics.

“We’re doing our homework and we’ll come up with some ideas that can serve us,” Deans said.

“But at this time of year, it will come down to more than just an idea, it will come down to making it happen.”


The Crusaders’ injury list is topped by their No.8, with Mose Tuiali’i suffering a blow to his knee during their 26-14 loss the Highlanders last Saturday although the indications are that he will be fit for selection.

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