Blues confident as they take on defending champ Crusaders

By James Perry

The Blues kept their season live with their 23-8 bonus point win over the Chiefs on Saturday night.  They must now beat defending champions, the Crusaders this week to stay in the hunt for the playoffs.

They sit just outside the playoff frame at the moment, three points off the Highlanders, with four games left in the regular season. 

it's now or never according to halfback Jonathon Ruru, "First up is the Crusaders and we've just got to win every game pretty much, it's as simple as that!"

The Blues haven't beaten the Crusaders since round 2 in 2014.  Season 2019 has seen the Blues end a number of unwanted streaks, the Chiefs victory, their first in 8 years is the most recent.

They have also recorded more wins this year than they did last year, raising their confidence levels ahead of the final month of the season. 

"We had a few losses there and we really just needed a win to get back on the wagon.  To get one over the Chiefs after going down narrowly the last time, that gave us a bit of confidence going into this week."

The Crusaders returned home from South Africa this morning.  While they are investigating allegations made against some of the players following their 19-19 draw against the Stormers in Cape Town, Ruru isn't concerned about what effect it will have on the Crusaders.

"I can't really presume or assume what they're going to be feeling.  We just know that we've got to go down there and really take it to them and they'll want to put in a good performance back up in front of their home crowd," he says.

The top-of-the-table Crusaders sit well clear of the competition, however, they have recorded two on-field draws (their match against the Highlanders was called off and recorded as another draw) and a surprise loss to the Waratahs this season.

Ruru says that doesn't mean they are more vulnerable than in years gone by. 

"They're a quality side, for the last few years and this year no doubt as well.  We just want to take it to them.  We know what challenge they're going to present to us and it's going to be a tough one and we've just got to really turn up with the attitude and the will to get it."

The Blues battle with the Crusaders this Saturday in Christchurch, a win will see them inch closer to a playoffs berth, and another chance to end yet another streak in 2019.