Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder insists that his team are feeling 'fresh' ahead of the Super Rugby Final in Brisbane this weekend despite their hectic travel schedule this season.
The Crusaders have been forced to travel more than 100,000 kilometres (60,000) miles this season after losing their home ground at Christchurch to the earthquake on February 22.
They have clocked up more than 20,000 kilometres in the past two weeks, travelling to Cape Town and then back to Brisbane, but Blackadder feels that any fatigue would be psychological more than anything else.
"We've done a bit of travelling this year but we feel really fresh," Blackadder said. "Just looking at the guys at training today, they are physically fit and mentally strong so we are good to go. You start talking about feeling tired and travel factors and it's amazing how quickly and easily you start feeling tired."
Blackadder described as 'sublime' the skills of Queensland flyhalf and playmaker Quade Cooper, who will engage in a personal duel Saturday with more seasoned Canterbury rival Dan Carter.
"Not just last week in the semifinal but all season, I take my hat off to Will Genia and Quade Cooper," Blackadder said. "Week in, week out, they haven't been rotated, they have fronted for the Reds and the team has played some brilliant rugby this year.
"Quade did things last week in that semifinal that were just unbelievable. He's certainly going to be a real handful for us," he added.
Cooper's ability to unleash his brilliance in the stifling pressure of finals rugby may be a key to Saturday's match. The New Zealand-born No. 10 was confident of being able to play his natural game.
"I don't try and go away from it or play anything different to suit critics or other people wanting certain things. I just go out and do what I have to do for the team," Cooper said.
"It's exciting to some but, for us, it's just how we play. No changes will be made. That's how we've played all year.
"Our mindset is always to go out there and express ourselves and enjoy ourselves and come out to win. Where better to do it than in front of 50,000 people in a massive backyard?" he quipped.
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