The Crusaders undefeated streak is growing round by round, and complacency is nowhere to be found. In fact, their attack is still levelling up with each game. Here we will look at the structures behind the Crusaders Attack, and find out why they simply won’t be stopped. Furthermore, we will also put forward some evidence that they are planning an even greater attacking evolution.
An Unstoppable Set Piece | Crusaders Attack
A midfield scrum is an opportunity the Crusaders will ensure they convert into 5 points. They start by confusing the Chief’s no.8, by using Mo’unga as a dummy to the right of the shot below.
Instead, the Crusaders go the other way. But we can see Seu still watching Mo’unga’s movement below. It’s so convincing, both he and Weber are moving in that direction to cover.
As the Crusaders begin their move, we can see both of these Chiefs players (red and yellow circles) fail to plug the hole that Will Jordan is about to go straight through. This is because they were both distracted by Mo’unga’s movement on the far side.
After a great inside ball, Jordan is through to score.
It’s impressive, but this move barely scratches the surface of what this Crusaders side are capable of in Super Rugby 2019. Let’s move on to a classic Crusaders attribute – support lines.
Never-Ending Support Players | Crusaders Attack
During their last title run, the Crusaders were well known for always having players in support to make the most of any half-chances. This tradition is back big-time under Scott Robertson.
Here Goodhue spots Retallick coming up out of the line, and steps on the gas to try and beat his All Black counterpart. Retallick does well to grab him but right at the end of the clip, we can see Taufua is ready to take the pass.
He does so, and the runners just keep coming from nowhere. Taufua makes a ridiculous offload while almost hitting the ground.
One more pass and Jordan is through for another try.
This is extremely difficult for any side to stop. Only England’s chop tackling or South Africa’s ball-focused tackles might stand a chance of cutting off these offloads. You can read about the latter below, as it was a tactic that successfully defeated the All Blacks at home and is extremely difficult to pull off.
With all of that in mind, we need to look at a few moments from this game where the Crusaders used smart tactics and even tactics above their own skill level.
3 Attacking Lines and Exploiting the Referee Gap | Crusaders Attack
The use of two separate attacking lines is a tactic we have covered before. England like to use these two lines to pull off Rugby League style backline moves and tear defences apart. But what if a team could use three separate lines on attack? That’s exactly what the Crusaders are attempting to do below.
We don’t get to see the outcome as the pass goes to ground. But you can probably imagine what could happen if they do start to get this right, especially with their offloads and support players. The Crusaders have been known to try the same moves again in their next fixture if they don’t come off, so keep an eye out for this against the Highlanders next round.
This last piece of play is just a smart move from Makalio. He sees the ref is standing in the Chiefs line, presenting a small hole. He then rushes in to get the ball and goes straight for it.
I mentioned earlier that England and the Springboks may be able to stop the Crusaders attack, but this would be expected of two international teams. Can anyone in Super Rugby beat them this season? Let us know your thoughts.
Author: The 1014 Rugby and Henry Stokes