NZ Rugby World

A TREASURE TROVE OF RICHES

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It’s di cult to know where to start here, whether it’s the Crusaders renowned set piece which Robertson and assistant coach Jason Ryan take so much pride in, their near impenetrab­le defence (high on Robertson’s portfolio), their inventive and always-threatenin­g No 10 Richie Mo’unga, or the threats among their outside backs: George Bridge, Sevu Reece, David Havili and Will Jordan.

Their depth and the preparedne­ss of their younger players under Robertson is unsurpasse­d in Super Rugby.

All of those elements are factors but perhaps it begins with an expectatio­n of excellence and performanc­e no matter the line-up which takes the field.

Certainly, that’s one thing that surprised former assistant coach Ronan O’Gara, the former Ireland test first-five, when he was at the Crusaders.

In an interview a couple of years ago, O’Gara recounted how he thought the Crusaders were at a severe disadvanta­ge after arriving in Wellington to play the Hurricanes without the likes of the injured Sam Whitelock and six others, only for Robertson to reply that he was sure the Crusaders would win. “I can remember the lightbulb moment,” O’Gara said. “I thought we [were going to get smashed] and he didn't see it like that.” Suffice to say, the Crusaders are a very well-rounded team, and very difficult to beat.

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