Canterbury rugby icon Todd Blackadder has said that he is in love with rugby and cannot think of any other game that will rekindle his senses.

Under immense pressure to boost morale in the wake of Christchurch’s devastating earthquake – and already responsible for honouring the memory of the Pike River mine victims in this fixture at Trafalgar Park – the Crusaders achieved both aims with a heart-warming performance.

“It’s a massive pressure release,” he said after surveying an exhausted though elated dressing room.

“You can see it in the sheds right now in the faces of the players.

“I’ve never been more proud as a coach in my career to walk in there.

“With everything that’s been going on … to get the win for our people, it’s just hard to describe.

“It’s just a game of rugby, but hopefully the people feel really good and take some pride.

“This is their team. Everyone owns this team, the guys play for our community. We’re going to fly our flag very proudly.”