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'Love hearts and fist pumps': Crusaders' new All Blacks eye big prize

Author
Christopher Reive - NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 5 Jul 2019, 10:01AM
Braydon Ennor was named in the All Blacks 39-man squad this week. Photo / Getty

'Love hearts and fist pumps': Crusaders' new All Blacks eye big prize

Author
Christopher Reive - NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 5 Jul 2019, 10:01AM

There's been a buzz around the Crusaders' camp this week with their eyes on a third consecutive title and a couple of freshly minted All Blacks in the squad.

Impressive backline duo Braydon Ennor and Sevu Reece were among the 39 players named in the first All Blacks squad of the year, hearing their names called out for the first time.

But while excitement levels were high, coach Scott Robertson has implored them to keep their eyes on the prize.

"The old Whatsapp groups have been fired up; love hearts and fist pumps over the last few days," Robertson told Radio Sport's D'Arcy Waldegrave. "[But] we moved on pretty quickly because we've got a job to do."

The Crusaders will welcome the Jaguares to OrangeTheory Stadium in Christchurch tomorrow night as they look to lock away the Super Rugby title for another year. It's a match up that Robertson admits he didn't expect when the season started, but one that is likely to be a very physical encounter.

The Jaguares impressed all season to finish on top of a tightly contested South African conference and showed they were more than capable of getting the job done at home or on the road.

"There aren't many guys who would have said you'd be playing them [in the final] at the start of the season. You've got to give it to them. You've got the ability to front up when they do travel," Robertson said of the Jaguares.

"We're really impressed with them. It's going to take all of, probably more, effort than against the Hurricanes."

Robertson described last weekend's semifinal against the Hurricanes as "anything but a final", with the high-intensity affair going down to the wire.

The side will be without star duo Ryan Crotty and Scott Barrett for the final, with Ennor replacing Crotty in the midfield and Mitchell Dunshea deputising for Barrett at lock alongside Sam Whitelock. Young outside back Will Jordan joins the bench.

Crusaders: David Havili, Sevu Reece, Braydon Ennor, Jack Goodhue, George Bridge, Richie Mo'unga, Bryn Hall, Kieran Read, Matt Todd, Whetukamokamo Douglas, Sam Whitelock, Mitchell Dunshea, Owen Franks, Codie Taylor, Joe Moody. Reserves: Andrew Makalio, George Bower, Michael Alaalatoa, Luke Romano, Jordan Taufua, Mitchell Drummond, Mitchell Hunt, Will Jordan.

Jaguares: Emiliano Boffelli, Matias Moroni, Matias Orlando, Jeronimo de la Fuente, Ramiro Moyano, Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, Tomas Cubelli, Javier Ortega Desio, Marcos Kremer, Pablo Matera, Tomas Lavanini, Guido Petti, Santiago Medrano, Agustin Creevy, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro. Reserves: Julian Montoya, Mayco Vivas, Enrique Pieretto, Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Tomas Lezana, Felipe Ezcurra, Domingo Miotti, Sebastian Cancelliere

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