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Crusaders hire external firm to undertake autopsy of disastrous season

By Ben Smith
Codie Taylor of the Crusaders leads his team onto the field during the round 14 Super Rugby Pacific match between Crusaders and Blues at Apollo Projects Stadium, on May 25, 2024, in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

The Crusaders finished their season on a high with a 43-10 win over Moana Pasifika but it wasn’t enough to secure playoff qualification as the Fijian Drua locked up the final spot.


Their fate was left outside their control after too many stumbles throughout the season, settling for a 4-10 record under first year head coach Rob Penney.

In his post-match interview Penney lamented the fine margins that the side has had this year, with six games decided by seven points or less and two games on full-time.

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But now that the season is in the history books, the club will begin the post-mortem starting with a review by external agency Gain Line Analytics.

“We do a review. We do one every year, sometimes we get external help, and this year we will,” CEO Colin Mansbridge told media during a 20 minute interview session.

The Crusaders boss steered away from speculating on the future of Penney who is still under contract for another season.

“We will do the review,” Mansbridge said when asked on Penney’s future.

“We’ve got to make sure we focus on doing a really quality review, it’s going to be performance focussed, it will be focussed on what we can do better.


“We won’t be scapegoating anyone and we won’t be making any knee-jerk reactions.”

Aside for conjecture around team selections, which Mansbridge said was a common issue among the players every year, there was no evidence of team unhappiness from within the squad.

“There was no evidence of dysfunction,” he said.

“You go through a great season, and everybody remembers lifting the trophy, and they forget all of the grit that it’s taken you to get there.

“Everyone thinks it’s this wonderful, perfect experience…and they forget everything that’s happened in between.”


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Jon 16 days ago

These are the guys that do the cohesion predictions? That will be a very interesting review and they have likely already told the Crusaders of their expections for them given such a young and inexperienced squad without all their injured and departed players.

I wonder if any of that will get leaked out, perhaps only if the cohesion metric predicted such a season? Actually even that would like badly upon the backoffice, I suspect it likely we will never know what Gain Line Analytics made of this season now!

Unless the PUs put its publication to vote?

monty 16 days ago

If they had another round up their sleeve then no doubt the sadas wouldv been top8. I say leave things alone and get into the next season I rekon the turn around will carry on.

Jen 16 days ago

Save your money. Just learn from the bad stuff and play better next year. Lost loads of key players and had half the team out broken for most of the season.

Egg 16 days ago

No scapegoats. No knee-jerk reactions. Just excuses in an expensive report under file 13. I’ll give the saders some free consulting - no planning after Razor. Just let things fall flat to rebuild. Easy.

Wayneo 17 days ago

With the civil war going on over in NZR you have to wonder if these guys can afford to throw money around on consulting firms?

Consultants just going to charge them thousands for the privilege of telling them that the brain drain is hurting them, they played like pork chops & maybe some insights gleaned from reading the various rugby blog posts with a couple of graphs thrown in to dicky the report up.

My suggestion is they forego the consultants and get a subscription to watch the URC, English Premiership, Top14 and EPCR competitions so that they can learn a bit from all the players and coaches that have left already NZ.

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