Super Rugby 2020: Blues bracing for Crusaders backlash

Blues coach Leon MacDonald believes the Crusaders will be extra-motivated for their clash on Friday, after the three-time defending Super Rugby champions lost to the Chiefs.

The Crusaders slumped to their first loss of the season, surrendering a halftime lead to lose 25-15 in Hamilton on Saturday night. 

MacDonald said the Blues had no time to bask in their 32-12 bonus-point win over the Waratahs, as they needed to turn their focus to facing the Crusaders at Eden Park on Friday.

History is against the Blues, as the Crusaders have won the last 10 meetings between the two sides. Last time they beat the Crusaders was in 2014, when Benji Marshall was in the team. 

"Any Crusaders-Blues clash is a big one for us," MacDonald said. "They've always rebounded well, especially under Razor's [coach Scott Robertson] tenure after a loss, so we expect nothing less.

"We always expect them to turn up at their best and that's the way we've got to prepare. 

"We've had a focus right through the pre-season and our first two games about getting our game right and working on our game.

"We've just got to prepare for the Crusaders to be at the top of their game for us and that's our focus really." 

MacDonald said the Blues needed to front up against the Crusaders, as they faced a gruelling two-week road trip to South Africa afterwards.

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson.
Crusaders coach Scott Robertson. Photo credit: Photosport

"We've obviously got a tough start to the season with the travel - off to South Africa in a couple of weeks and the Crusaders next week - so to pick up the win to get us underway was crucial for us." 

Regardless, MacDonald was taking the positives from the win against the Waratahs. 

"By and large, it was a big step forward, especially with our energy around the field on attack and defence," he said.

"Our kick-chase was high energy, we contested really well at the wide breakdowns and put a lot of pressure on the there. Every time they tried to exit, we were off the line and in their face.

"We showed a lot of tenacity and a little bit of relentlessness, which was something we had talked about. 

"That was the most pleasing thing - we stayed with that intensity right to the end. If we have that every week, we're going to be a challenge for anyone."

Join us at 7pm Friday for live updates of the Blues v Crusaders Super Rugby clash.