Super Rugby

Crusaders out to reduce penalty count at Loftus

Scott Robertson (Getty)
Scott Robertson (Getty)

Cape Town - The Crusaders are working hard at their discipline ahead of Friday's Super Rugby clash against the Bulls in Pretoria.

Despite leading on the overall standings, the Crusaders are the second most penalised team (114) in the competition this season, with only the Sunwolves (127) having conceded more.

The Crusaders' 21-all draw with the Sharks in Christchurch last weekend was also characterised by the hosts giving away several penalties - 12 in total, including three at scrum time.

The defending champions were not happy with the manner in which Kiwi referee Brendon Pickerill refereed the scrums last weekend and are confident they won’t have any issues with South Africa's Rasta Rasivhenge at Loftus Versfeld.

"Really, for us, trust our game and also be disciplined in it, especially when we haven't got the ball. Enough has been said about the scrums, we're confident Rasta has been fed all the information he needs to make good decisions," Crusaders coach Scott Robertson told the Stuff.co.nz website from the team's base in Johannesburg.

The coach added: "(It's about us) making good decisions around the breakdown and seeing clear pictures. It's all up for interpretation and making sure we're as clean as possible."

A high penalty count could cost the Crusaders against the Bulls, with home captain pivot Handre Pollard not shy to have shots at goal this season.

Pollard is currently the top points scorer in the competition with 138 and Crusaders fullback David Havili acknowledged the threat the Springbok pivot poses.

"Like (Robertson) said, getting our interpretations right at the breakdown (is key), we can't let the Bulls get a roll on. It's (preparation) just been in and around our discipline and game management.

"We're going to have to be good in the air. We've done a bit of high ball training the last couple of days because the ball tends to hang up a lot higher on the Highveld."

Friday’s clash is scheduled for 19:10.

Teams:

Bulls

15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Handre Pollard (captain), 9 Andre Warner, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Lizo Gqoboka

Substitutes: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Thembelani Bholi, 20 Paul Schoeman, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Divan Rossouw

Crusaders

15 David Havili, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty (captain), 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd (captain), 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Mitchell Dunshea, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody

Substitutes: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Harry Allan, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Braydon Ennor 

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