The Crusaders may once more be with out standout fullback Will Jordan after they host the Hurricanes at a Covid-19 enforced empty Orangetheory Stadium on Saturday night time.
Coach Scott Robertson will make a name on his standing after his rib damage is assessed early this week, however it’s clear he received’t be risked except he is touching 100 per cent.
Jordan, having been named to begin, was scratched forward of the Crusaders’ season-opening 26-13 win against the Highlanders, forcing rookie Chay Fihaki to begin in his place with David Havili (concussion) additionally out.
The excellent news is Robertson is assured Havili will return from the top knock he suffered of their recreation of three halves pre-season match a fortnight in the past, the identical recreation Jordan took a heavy shot to the ribs.
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Robertson mentioned Jordan was nonetheless “actually sore” forward of their season-opener, which the reigning champions received on the again of a supreme defensive efficiency, regardless of conceding 15 penalties and two yellow playing cards.
It wasn’t the primary time referee Ben O’Keeffe has hammered the Crusaders within the penalty depend, though he’s additionally been identified to have apologised to them submit match for selections prior to now.
Whereas Highlanders coach Tony Brown suggested the Crusaders cynically conceded penalties inside their own 22 to keep the visitors from scoring, Robertson denied that was the case.
“They did not take alternatives to go for the posts after our ill-discipline. It wasn’t cynical. We defended their mauls, that is footy. The ref gave us warnings and yellow playing cards.”
Regardless, Robertson is aware of his workforce must not solely modify to O’Keeffe, however merely be higher at making certain they take an additional step on defence to keep away from referees cracking down on offside play.
It isn’t international territory for the Crusaders.
Final yr, they had been essentially the most penalised workforce within the opening few rounds of Tremendous Rugby Aotearoa, earlier than ending with the fewest (72). The Blues (88) had been essentially the most pinged.
“We began final yr like this with out the intent of it and corrected it because the season went on by being actually trustworthy and taking possession.
“We definitely have not blamed any officers or put blame on anybody else,” Robertson mentioned.
As is the case every week, the Crusaders will obtain an in depth listing of their infringements from their opening recreation.
It is going to permit them to make changes, query any calls, or search clarification on rulings.
“That might be finished fairly fast, so we are able to put that recreation to mattress and transfer on to the following one,” Robertson mentioned.
Ought to neither Havili nor Jordan be match to play the Hurricanes, Robertson will seemingly follow Fihaki at fullback, who was principally blemish free in his first Tremendous Rugby match.
He was blessed with enjoying alongside All Blacks wing Sevu Reece, who performed arguably his greatest recreation for the Crusaders since 2019.
Reece was maybe responsible of making an attempt too arduous final yr and failed to succeed in the lofty heights of the earlier season, when virtually every thing he touched turned to gold.
However he expertly scored contained in the right-hand flag as he was being blasted into contact, setup halfback Bryn Corridor’s strive with a high quality centre-kick, and notched 89 metres on 10 carries.
“It has been an enormous low season for him. He did plenty of reflecting on final yr, and he is aware of the competitors that’s within the outdoors backs in NZ Rugby,” Robertson mentioned.
“If you wish to be an All Black, you must be proper on, and for the entire season, and take your alternatives. And he is finished that right away spherical one.”