Crusaders coach likens Ryan Crotty to All Blacks great Conrad Smith

Sunday Sport 22/07/2018
Photo credit: Photosport.

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has compared second-five Ryan Crotty to All Blacks great Conrad Smith after another impressive outing.

The 29-year-old starred for the defending Super Rugby champions in their quarter-final win over the Sharks on Saturday.

Robertson praised Crotty's ability to be able to shift from second-five to centre and likened his defence to that of Smith.

"[There's] the ability for Crotty to go to centre because he's such a good reader of defence - that's a Conrad Smith style; he's just got time, he can read it before it happens," he told RadioLIVE.

"He's smart, he's really smart - and he loves the game.

"The bigger the game the better he is, and he's got an ability to commentate on the field, he's got the ability to call it as it is and his experience and ability to get other people in the right place and make the right decision.

"He fronts up in the big games and he's a very valuable member, loves being a Crusader - he's a centurion for us and turns up every day with a smile on his face."

Robertson also praised Richie Mo'unga for his durability and resilience after another strong performance at first-five.

"He's tough, he's got the ability to make those tackles, to front up, he got winded last night and got straight back on and made a big tackle and put a guy away," he told RadioLIVE.

"That's his biggest growth from the last couple of years is his ability to front up, back up and do it defensively as well and he gets us around the field, he's huge for us."

The Crusaders will host the Hurricanes in next week's Super Rugby semi-final, having only lost two games this season.

Robertson was pleased with the side's hit out against the Sharks and is looking for more of the same next Saturday.

"You want to be battle-hardened, and we got that," he said.      

"They were big men - we had to defend for long periods of time. We got the turnovers we needed, capitalised and got over them in the end."

A patchy lineout display and inability to capitalise on line breaks held them back, but Robertson found little to fault with their tenacity without the ball.

"It's getting off the ground, working hard and not giving penalties away. We'll need that again," he said.           

Listen to the full interview with Scott Robertson above.

Sunday Sport with Andrew Gourdie and Jim Kayes, 2pm - 6pm every Sunday afternoon on RadioLIVE, and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.