Crusaders coach says his team is 'disliked immensely' after another title victory

Author
Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 10 May 2021, 11:42AM
Crusaders coach Scott Robertson celebrates winning the Super Rugby Aotearoa 2021. Photosport
Crusaders coach Scott Robertson celebrates winning the Super Rugby Aotearoa 2021. Photosport

Crusaders coach says his team is 'disliked immensely' after another title victory

Author
Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 10 May 2021, 11:42AM

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson says his team is "disliked immensely" – but he hopes the 2021 Sky Super Rugby champions are respected.

The Crusaders - who were down to 13 men at one stage during the second half of the final - showed all of their class to overcome a spirited Chiefs side by 24–13 in the New Zealand showdown.

It was their fifth consecutive title under Robertson, who was controversially overlooked for the All Blacks job.

"I was nervous – I know how good they are," Robertson said after the final in Christchurch.

"We had to be at our best – at times we were against the ropes and all the leadership stuff we do, making the right calls and saying present, showed tonight.

"We're still hungry, we know we're not liked, teams are desperate.

"I know we're disliked immensely, but I'd like to think we're respected for what we've done.

"You have to stay hungry for so long, and put your body through it for so long and turn up every day.

"We have to get better as a team to keep winning.

"I'm really proud to coach this team – but it's only half the season done."

Robertson said the coaches' plans to stay calm during the game didn't work out. But they pulled themselves together in time to make clear calls when they were needed.

"There was a lot of emotion in the box…we were in all sorts for a bit," he said.

"I think the players were a bit calmer.

"We just couldn't finish anything, we created so much in the first half, played some great footy.

"But at the end of sets we'd turn the ball over or the ball would go out on the full, or there was a knock on. Then we just found a way.

"They (the Chiefs) are the best in the country at the break down – it feels like they've got 14 loose forwards.

"We let them back in the game…thank goodness Damian (McKenzie) was off radar (with his goalkicking)."

A pivotal moment in the match came when Richie Mo'unga fielded a deep Chiefs kick and launched a brilliant counterattack.

Robertson said: "What a play, what a player, freakish. He's special."

Robertson had no problem with the yellow card on Codie Taylor, for tackling McKenzie in the air. But he appeared to think the call on Sevu Reece for a high tackle was more marginal.