To paraphrase the surfing and breakdancing philosopher and coach Scott Robertson - win the big moments in a match and you will generally get the result you want.

That is especially true in freezing rain on an early-winter's night in Christchurch in front of a reported 16,000 onlookers doing their best to shelter from the conditions in a stadium held together by scaffolding.

String enough wins together and you put yourself in a position to win the competition. If the Crusaders do go on to defend their title on August 4, then mark down their win over the Hurricanes at AMI Stadium as one of their biggest moments of the regular season.

On this evidence, Robertson should be preparing some new dance moves with which to celebrate his second title in two years in charge because it will take a special effort to knock this team over now.


It's not only that the Crusaders got their tactics right on a perfect night for them in terms of conditions, one which put a higher value on scrummaging, mauling and discipline, but that they had the belief to know they could do it without the suspended Joe Moody and Owen Franks.

Tim Perry, Sam Whitelock, Jordan Taufua and Ryan Crotty were all ruled out during the week and then Robertson had to watch – through his fingers presumably – Tim Bateman, Pete Samu and Braydon Ennor leave the field injured.

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson. Photo / Photosport
Crusaders coach Scott Robertson. Photo / Photosport

It was a performance which not surprisingly attracted the attention of All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, who watched the game before his squad's three-day camp in Christchurch ahead of next month's series against France.

"They showed a lot of faith in the young guys and Razor [Robertson] got them to believe in themselves and they played well and won the game," said Hansen, who added with more understatement: "The Hurricanes will be disappointed. I don't think they handled the conditions as well as they would have liked to."

The Crusaders will get Moody back for their match against the Chiefs in Hamilton next Saturday, with new All Blacks squad member Taufua a possibility to return from a tight calf. Whitelock and Crotty are recovering from concussion and will be monitored during the week.

Perry is unlikely to be involved after straining a hamstring on All Blacks duty last Tuesday.

But such is the belief in this team – both as a collective and as individuals – that whoever takes the field at Waikato Stadium will do so with high expectations.

If they beat the Chiefs then their last two round-robin matches are at home against the Highlanders and Blues. Win those and they will qualify for a home final should they get that far.


It's difficult to see them being beaten in the big dance at home, and after making headlines around the world with his elaborate moves on the hallowed surface of Johannesburg's Ellis Park following the Crusaders' historic final win over the Lions last year, a wet shirt and trousers won't worry Robertson a bit.