Sharpe praises in-form Crusaders
Nathan Sharpe hailed the Crusaders as the hardest rival he has faced in his Super Rugby career and rated them the form team of the competition.
Todd Blackadder’s outfit claimed a 38-24 win at AMI Stadium on Saturday as they weathered a spirited fightback from Sharpe’s Perth franchise.
And the lock, who was playing his last game in the competition before the Rugby Championship, admitted the Crusaders were just too good.
“They’re the form team we’ve played this year,” he said.
“I’m proud of our crew. We brought a lot of young guys over here for this game but they hung in there and did really, really well.
“The Crusaders have been the hardest opposition I have faced across my whole career.
“The Emirates Force means a hell of a lot to me and now that it is done and dusted and unfortunately we didn’t get away with a win.”
The Crusaders’ victory means they will host the Bulls in next week’s knockout stages.
“There was a lot of little mistakes and our set pieces didn’t function too well. But we got the win which was what we wanted,” captain Richie McCaw told Sky Sports after the game.
“We played with pretty good pace and intensity in the first half but we didn’t carry that on.
“The Force showed they were a reasonable team and they came back and put us under pressure.
“We didn’t win as much lineout ball as wanted but now we are in the play-offs it is back to square one.”