However, they need to back that up with a second tour win when they face a tricky hurdle in the Cheetahs. The Cheetahs showed, in the first half, against the Chiefs last week that they are better than what their lowly position on the standings suggest. If they play for 60 or 80 minutes like that against the Crusaders it could get ugly for the visitors.
Cheetahs assistant coach Hawies Fourie feels a change in tactics is what got the Crusaders back on the winning track against the Lions last week.
“They kicked a lot more, especially the contestable [high] kicks and put plenty of pressure on the Lions at the rucks where the catcher was tackled,” Fourie told this website, adding that they are planning for a similar approach in Bloemfontein. He said the Crusaders’ change in tactics – those contestable high bombs – are tailor-made for the Lions and Cheetahs.
“They know the Lions and ourselves are two teams that enjoy counter-attacking and play more in our own half, than other South Africa teams,” the Cheetahs’ backline mentor said. “That is why they employed those tactics and put so much pressure on that first breakdown, to kill off the counter-attacking chances.”
The Crusaders’ defence was also outstanding and their scrumming has improved since their early season losses.
2012: Crusaders won 28-21, Christchurch
2011: Cheetahs won 33-20, Bloemfontein
2010: Crusaders won 45-6, Christchurch
2009: Cheetahs won 20-13, Bloemfontein
2008: Crusaders won 55-7, Christchurch
2007: Crusaders won 49-28, Bloemfontein
Cheetahs: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Rayno Benjamin, 11 Hennie Daniller, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Jean Cook, 7 Pieter Labuschagné, 6 Johannes Prinsloo, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Nicolaas van Dyk, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Rossouw de Klerk, 19 Andries Ferreira, 20 Teboho Mohoje, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Elgar Watts, 23 Howard Mnisi.
Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Owen Franks, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Andy Ellis, 22 Tyler Bleyendaal, 23 Tom Taylor.
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Francois de Bruin Francois (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)