“We’re a proud province and region and for us to represent them is nothing better,” Robertson said. “To get back in on Saturday night is a chance for us to do that.
“We’re fortunate our way of outlet is to go and play a game we love and we know people are behind us and support us. Now it’s our chance to do our job and inspire people like we have done for a long time.”
In the wake of the attack, there have been discussions about potentially changing the Crusaders’ name, given critics have raised concerns over the use of a name they believe is offensive to the Muslim faith.
It is in reference to a series of conflicts between Christian soldiers (Crusaders) and Muslims in the 11th century.
Asked for his opinion on the name change, Robertson said: “We just want to do the right thing. There is a consultation process that will go on. We want to let people grieve, we want to make sure they have time and we go to the people that can represent them, get the information we need to make a great decision and do the right thing.”
Waratahs star Israel Folau offered his condolences to the Crusaders and its supporters.
“I obviously really feel for them and it’s going top be such a big occasion obviously for the Crusaders to come out here and play,” Folau said. “There’s obviously a lot to play for and there’s going to be a lot of emotion going around.
“Everyone has different beliefs … but like I said you just wouldn’t think something like that would happen in places like New Zealand but unfortunately that’s the way the world is going.
“It’s really sad to see. I just hope families and those that have lost their loved ones are really coping at this time.”
Meanwhile, the Waratahs are close to giving the SCG surface the green light after concerns following their 28-17 victory over the Queensland Reds in round four.
The SCG Trust replaced 3000 square metres of turf after the surface was chewed up at scrum-time.
Waratahs boss Andrew Hore and SCG Trust officials joined an independent assessor to analyse the turf and ensure player safety would not be compromised. A final report will be presented on Wednesday.
“Preliminary reports are positive that it will meet Super Rugby standards,” said a Waratahs spokesperson. “We are currently planning that we’ll be at the SCG.”
Waratahs prop Sekope Kepu said he was confident the surface would hold up.
“As far as I know we are out there and regardless of the surface, you just have to adapt to the conditions,” Kepu said. “We will be going out there to scrummage as per normal and do a job.”
Tom Decent is a journalist with The Sydney Morning Herald