‘Saders warning to Sharks

The Crusaders have not come close to producing their best form this season, according to fullback Leon MacDonald.

The defending champions beat the Highlanders in the opening round and struggled against the Reds in Brisbane until a frantic last quarter saw them run away with things.

“We’ve come out with 10 points and felt we haven’t played anywhere near our potential, so it’s a good position to be in,” MacDonald told XtraMSN Rugby at the start of preparations for Saturday’s clash against the Sharks in Timaru.

The Crusaders are red-hot favourites to beat the Sharks, having smashed the Durbanites 77-34 in Christchurch last year. Only a flurry of second-half substitutions allowed the Sharks to save face. Had the Crusaders kept their foot on the gas they could have come close to the 100-point mark.

“We know we can improve a lot and we’ve got heaps of areas to work on,” said MacDonald. “But to play as averagely as we have and still have 10 points is a real bonus. We’re sitting good at the moment.”

According to MacDonald, the Crusaders always try a few new things at the beginning of the season and only hit their straps in the second half of the tournament.

“You can’t stand still in this competition,” notes MacDonald. “You can’t just use the same moves and hope they’ll work every year because teams will work you out pretty quickly.

“We’re still trying things and working on our game and that’s showing a bit. We’re making a lot of mistakes we don’t normally make, and as the weeks go on we’ll try and tidy that area up.”