Brian Ashby: Are Crusaders timing their run?

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Sam Whitelock played like a cloned combination of Victor Matfield and John Eales. Photo / Getty Images
Sam Whitelock played like a cloned combination of Victor Matfield and John Eales. Photo / Getty Images

If legal highs are going to be banned, then the future of Super Rugby must be in doubt. It's a clear danger to our health. Another weekend of great drama done and dusted. There's plenty more to come with the New Zealand Conference still insanely tight.

Before the Crusaders headed to South Africa, my feeling was that they were one loss away from being dog tucker. How quickly things can change. Hurricanes fans are pointing to Steve Walsh as the reason for their downfall, but them along with the Highlanders should also look to their lack of composure as a key factor in their downfalls.

Luke Romano's brain explosion and subsequent yellow card had the potential to turn things bad for the Crusaders, but composure was ultimately what held things together for Blackadder's battalion.

Sam Whitelock played like a cloned combination of Victor Matfield and John Eales, an All Black jersey has given Ryan Crotty a level of confidence we've never seen before, while Nemani Nadolo's Kenworth-like presence and Maserati-like speed must be causing sleepless nights for the Reds backline this week.

And then there's Richie McCaw. Sunday morning must have felt like Christmas Day for All Blacks coach Steve Hansen. McCaw's energetic but stumbling start to the competition combined with his broken thumb had the serial whingers writing off the All Blacks Skipper. Two months later, first game back, and he puts in a man of the match performance. Post-match, he was talking with the enthusiasm of a rookie on debut.

Richie McCaw is back and is looking like..., well, Richie McCaw. Blackadder looked as though he was standing a little taller post match too. Yes his side copped some injuries, but with Kieran Read still to make his return, the Crusaders are in pretty good shape for this time of the season.

Mid-March and a trip to AMI Stadium was beginning to look as about as appealing as a trip to the Crematorium. That's all changed. But then as we've seen over and over again this season, it could all change again in the blink of an eye.

Perhaps, just perhaps, we are seeing the start of the usual strong finish to the round robin from the Crusaders.

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