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Crusaders coach Scott Robertson: “Grandparents and young kids probably aren’t coming to the stadium right now, it’s just too cold.”
Scott Robertson not only turned the screws on his players ahead of their Super Rugby Pacific semi-final against the Chiefs in Christchurch on Friday.
Crusaders coach Robertson also delivered a passionate message to city leaders after revelations that a $ 150 million cost explosion would push the price of a new stadium to $ 683 million.
The latest figures have sparked debate over whether it is still worthwhile to build a new covered 30,000-seat stadium in the CBD, with the public to say whether Christchurch City Council should spend the additional $ 150 million.
Watching the Crusaders defeat the Queensland Reds 37-15 on another icy night at Orangetheory Stadium in Addington on Friday night, a structure built as a “temporary” solution in 2012 after the quakes, Robertson urged decision-makers to be “courageous”. ” and support work on the new stadium in the heart of Christchurch.
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“I’m not a political animal at all, but I have to say something because I know a lot of people who care deeply about this city …” Robertson said.
As he bade farewell to the hardened fans, many dressed as if they had spent two hours trapped in a snow-cave, after the victory of the Crusaders, Robertson could not camouflage his frustration.
When he was appointed coach of the top South Island top sports team in 2017, he dared to dream that one day he could watch the Crusaders play in the new facility.
He couldn’t be more wrong. There is still no light at the end of the tunnel.
After examining the semi-empty stands at the quarterfinals, Robertson was able to understand why people were reluctant to visit the stadium in Addington.
“Grandparents and young kids probably don’t come to the stadium right now, it’s just too cold.”
Rising material costs and supply chain difficulties have contributed to the budget boom and many of the city’s taxpayers have been left wondering when, or whether, they will get a modern stadium.
Robertson said the Crusaders were grateful to play in Addington but wondered if the people of Christchurch were getting a rough deal from the decision-makers.
“We have to build the heart of the city. It’s exactly where we need it. Leaders need to be brave. And if we don’t do it now, we’ll be hanging out as an audience and a generation that goes. Take another time. ”
Sam Whitelock is the only professional rugby player in Canterbury to have played in Lancaster Park, who was bowled after the earthquakes.
While Robertson admits some citizens don’t want the new stadium he said it was foolish to keep waiting: “People want it, a couple of people may not … but they shouldn’t hold us back.”
Leading the Crusaders to five titles during his tenure, Robertson was rarely criticized. Talking about this controversial issue, however, has the potential for a knock on his back.
However, like everyone else who attends events at Orangetheory Stadium, he knows what visitors need to think about as they watch the dated facility. And it is not complementary.
Meanwhile, the Crusaders will have to launch a new open side in the middle after All Black Ethan Blackadder suffered a serious shoulder injury against the Reds. He is expected to be replaced by Tom Christie.
The Crusaders will confirm on Wednesday evening.
The Crusaders’ melee was huge, and when their attack clicked they made big gains in the last quarter. However, Robertson will expect improvements.
“We’ve been over the line a few times, or held on. We’ve had a few hits. We create a lot, but we just have to finish them.
“But also just make sure we keep our work ethic, away from the ball, as strong as we have. So it’s all there for us.”