THE CRUSADERS will need to be at their very best if they are to topple the unbeaten Stormers in Christchurch this Saturday, says Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph.
The South Africans made it six from six when they beat Joseph’s men 21-6 in Dunedin last weekend.
The Stormers now turn their attention to the Crusaders, who are coming off a long trip back to New Zealand from South Africa and a 32-30 loss to the Bulls in Pretoria.
The red and blacks have never lost to the men from Cape Town in Christchurch, but Joseph feels they will have to be at the top of their game to ensure that record remains intact.
“The defence by the Stormers was a lot better than any defence we've come up against this season,” says Joseph.
“They were very good at slowing down our attack. They did a hell of a job in stopping our flow. There were times when we thought we had them, but they always held us out.
“The Stormers are a very good side. They're very consistent in their performances and in the way they play. They play the percentages, they squeeze teams. They've been like that for a few years,” he says.
“We couldn't break them and then they turned the pressure back on us, which is what good teams do.”
Joseph, however, offers one ray of hope.
“They looked a bit sore after the game against us, too. There were a few of their guys looking a bit battle-weary, so we must have been doing something right.”
The Highlanders have the bye this weekend and Joseph is happy with the team’s five-win, two-loss record.
“At the start of the season we would have taken five wins from seven games. The game against the Stormers was our 10th, including the three pre-season games. I want the players to get away from rugby for a week and have a physical and mental rest.”« Back to Articles
With the series level, expect both teams to put it all on the line as they seek to win the deciding test in Sydney on Saturday night.