Moody's return strengthens Crusaders

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Lynn McConnell     11 May 2018     Getty Images

Coach Scott Robertson said the yellow cards had been for cynical play rather than foul play so there was a need for the players to be aware of making good decisions in those situations that occurred recently.

"The leaders have been driving it really hard so we'll be better for it," he said.

Game understanding was an important consideration because the types of infringements resulting in the cards were within the referees' radar and it was a case of not giving it to them.

On a more positive note the side was looking forward to the return of All Blacks loosehead prop Joe Moody who hasn't played since midway through last season.

Moody said it had felt like an age since he last played rugby.

"It has been a little bit frustrating but I'm just happy to be back in the mixer now," he said.

What had compounded his frustration was recovering from his shoulder surgery and getting ready to return only to break his finger two minutes into a club rugby game when his finger got caught in a jersey while attempting a clean out.

While he had been getting plenty of personal training and 'getting flogged', there was no substitute for match fitness and he was looking for game time now.

"I guess I have timed it reasonably well as far as getting back into Super Rugby now – get a few games in, hopefully play well and maybe get selected in that June series [against France], we'll see what happens," he said.

Robertson said Moody was in good condition and he had done a lot of scrummaging and was ready to go.

All Blacks front row teammate Owen Franks will not be joining him against the Waratahs and that was down to load management after Franks' own return from surgery on his Achilles' tendons. As well as his three games for the Crusaders he had played two club games so it had been five weeks in a row and they were mindful he would have international commitments next month.

Robertson said Franks had improved his ability to get off the ground quickly and get around the park with some explosiveness off the line defensively and to carry from how he played last year.

"Probably the big thing is the pain management for him. They [the Achilles] were pretty painful and with pain the ceiling comes down on performance. So the pain has gone away, the strength has come back and he's scrummaging great and he's got rhythm over the last three games," he said.