Crusaders ready for solid Reds challenge

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    02 Mar 2019     Getty Images

Captain and flanker Matt Todd said the physicality of the Reds was very impressive and they had the ability to punish mistakes from anywhere on the field.

"They score some tries from long range and we have to be on our toes because they can hurt you from anywhere.

"Even when they got down a couple of times [against the Highlanders], to come back shows they have real character and belief in the team that no matter the situation, they're still in it and they obviously back their systems that they know can work and get results," he said.

"We know we'll have to put in a good 80-minute performance on Saturday."

While some members of the team for Brisbane had not played a lot over the last couple of years they had been involved in the Crusaders' environment, had been training well and would be excited about their opportunity.

Reds skipper Samu Kerevi said they were aware of what they were going to be up against.

"They're an unbelievable team, they've proven it through the years and how consistently they've been winning championships and games.

"But they've got two legs, we've got two legs, they're human, they can make mistakes, we can make mistakes," he said.

The game would be about who could handle the pressure that developed in the game and the Reds backed themselves to cope.

"It's an awesome test for us," Kerevi said.

There wouldn't be any stage fright involved for the Reds.

"When you play them sometimes, you just admire them. We've got to respect what they've done, but we've got to be able to give it back to them.

"The physicality's got to be up there and we've got to make it uncomfortable for them as much as they make it uncomfortable for us," he said.

Kerevi said coach Brad Thorn, famously a former Crusader, said been giving the message all week about making it uncomfortable for the champions.

"They are very dangerous ball runners and creators, so we'll have to be defensively smart there and make it as difficult as we can to get the ball out there and the ball they do get, make sure it's when we're set – not give them that turnover or loose ball.

"We've got a good plan there and the challenge for us is to execute that plan," he said.