Crusaders concentrate on attitude not altitude

Super Rugby
AAP
by AAP

The Crusaders are so determined not to fade in the Super Rugby final against the Lions on Saturday that they are virtually disregarding the thin air in Johannesburg - with the support of medical science.

Playing at 1750m above sea level has undone countless visitors at Ellis Park.

The most recent victims were the Hurricanes, who crumbled late in the semi-final, watching their 19-point lead transform into a 15-point defeat.

Crusaders and All Blacks hooker Codie Taylor revealed altitude won't be a factor for him and his team, simply because they plan to ignore it.

"Our doctor told us that it doesn't affect you. It is high altitude but physiologically it doesn't affect your body," he said.

"It's just more of a mindset. That's the way we're looking at it this week, we've just got to push through it and just get the headspace right."

Thin air and jet lag won't be the only adjustment for the seven-time champions.

Their two play-off wins have come on a wet Christchurch surface far from the warm, hard conditions expected.

The challenge of playing in front of 62,000 Lions supporters will be a world apart from the small recent crowds at wintry AMI Stadium.

However, nothing changes between the touchlines, Taylor says.

"For us, it's about playing the game we've been playing all year. We like to apply pressure in different areas," he said.

"On a dry track you're looking to play, to throw the ball around and get the backs involved." - Codie Taylor.

"We were doing that through the main part of the season.

"Both teams like to attack so it's going to be entertaining.

"There will be a lot of noise, it'll probably be hard to hear at times. We've talked all week about what to expect."

Taylor says analysis of the Lions' defeat of the Hurricanes showed that a momentum shift came when the home side began to launch lineout drives.

It tired the Hurricanes and let the Lions dictate the tempo in a dizzying second-half surge.

Stopping a repeat will fall on the shoulders of the All Blacks-laden Crusaders pack, Taylor said.

"They obviously won through the momentum they built through their lineout," he said.

"They've scored the most tries off mauls this year in the competition and they haven't let any in so it's going to be an awesome challenge for us to step up.

"They're a good team and they went to their strengths in the second half of that game and kept the Hurricanes guessing."

Both teams have named unchanged teams, with the Lions gunning for a maiden crown while the Crusaders are out to break a drought dating back to 2008.

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