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Backs-to-the-wall Crusaders win extra special, says Robertson

08 August 2018

Crotty, a hugely important part of the Crusaders backline, and, with Sonny Bill Williams out injured, a key All Black too, spoke of his emotions after the grand final victory over the Lions.

Breakdancing Crusaders coach Scott Robertson felt their Super Rugby title win was particularly sweet because of the quality of the final in Christchurch. Last year's win ended a nine-year title drought and Saturday's match was the Crusaders' first home final in 10 years.

A line break by flanker Matt Todd, who had missed a crucial tackle on Brink, and contributions by flyhalf Richie Mo'unga and Wallabies flanker Pete Samu, created a try under the posts for replacement scrumhalf Mitchell Drummond and the Crusaders went ahead 30-13.

The victory was the ideal sendoff for Wallaby Peter Samu, who will join the Brumbies in 2019.

Robertson, who celebrated in trademark fashion with a breakdance on the pitch, was delighted with the way his players fought to secure victory. "The boys just stepped up", skipper Sam Whitelock said of the lineout drive.

"It's unbelievable when the fans come out". "He beat about 20 defenders, he kicked the majority of his goals, he was tough on defence, and he was behind a Rolls Royce pack", said Robertson with a nod to Steve Hansen's comment during the week.

But as with everytime there was hope, the Crusaders simply struck back, with Mitchell Drummond scoring a few minutes later from a attractive attack which saw the ball move through several sets of hands.

"A bit emotional, to be honest".

"I think ball in hand they've got some fantastic players and Elton Jantjies at Super Rugby level has really been one of the stand-out first-fives in Super Rugby over the last while".

"We gave it everything out there".

Tamanivalu says the team environment and "brotherhood" made him feel at home with the Crusaders. "If they score two or three tries they win the game".

He grounded the ball just short of the line, just as Hurricanes' Beauden Barrett had the week before in the semifinal.

A problem for the Lions is the Crusaders have no obvious weaknesses.

The lost opportunity was the story of the night for the Lions.

Mo'unga wasn't surprised to hear his team were forced to make 180 tackles.

It was largely one way traffic from then on, as Mo'unga took control and enhanced his reputation as the in form fly half in New Zealand. "But it is still 80 minutes between four white lines so it will be interesting".

At that stage - the Lions were still in the game after the flyhalves swopped early penalties and Semi Tamanivalu bumped off Ruan Combrinck easily to score the opening try after a defensive system error by the Lions. It was clearly a weapon of the Lions that the Crusaders had done their homework on, and the visitors were simply never able to get their maul working.

Smelling blood, the Crusaders quickly spread the ball to the fringes and fullback David Havili crossed the line easily.

Backs-to-the-wall Crusaders win extra special, says Robertson