Cru­saders pro­ceed with cau­tion into Chiefs semi

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

Li­ons or Hur­ri­canes, coach Scott Robert­son is tak­ing noth­ing for granted.

“Even though they are fly­ing back it doesn’t mean the old mind­set isn’t go­ing to be right,” he told re­porters yes­ter­day.

“They can turn up and climb into us, like they have done in years gone by.”

Hav­ing beaten the Storm­ers 17-11 in Cape Town last week­end, the Chiefs will now be look­ing to re­store their re­cent dom­i­nance over the Cru­saders.

The Cru­saders’ 31-24 vic­tory in Suva in May ended a run of four de­feats to the Chiefs stretch­ing back to 2014.

The Hamil­ton-based Chiefs have won nine of the 13 meet­ings be­tween the teams since 53-year-old Dave Ren­nie took charge in 2012, in­clud­ing semi-fi­nal match-ups that year and in 2013 when they went on to se­cure their two Su­per Rugby ti­tles.

Un­like those matches, how­ever, the Cru­saders will be play­ing in Christchurch to­mor­row.

“They used their home­ground ad­van­tage on those oc­ca­sions, but this time we have earned the chance to play in front of our own sup­port­ers and that means a lot to us,” said Robert­son.

While the Cru­saders will put out the same team that beat the High­landers 17-0 in last week’s quar­ter-fi­nal, the Chiefs will wel­come back cen­tre Char­lie Ngatai, pic­tured, from an an­kle in­jury and have brought wing Tim Nanai-Wil­liams off the bench.

It is up front, though, that the Chiefs might face their tough­est bat­tle as they take on a Cru­saders pack which in­cludes seven All Black starters and a fur­ther two in­ter­na­tional for­wards on the bench. “As long as I can re­mem­ber they’ve al­ways had the best pack in the com­pe­ti­tion,” Ren­nie ex­plained. “They drive well, they’ve got a great de­fen­sive li­ne­out. We’ve al­ways known what that chal­lenge is and we’ve got a group of men who are keen to mea­sure them­selves.”

Hav­ing slipped up in their last match of the reg­u­lar sea­son against the Hur­ri­canes, the Cru­saders will be re­ly­ing on the reign­ing cham­pi­ons to beat the Li­ons in to­mor­row’s other semi-fi­nal in Jo­han­nes­burg to give them a chance of a home fi­nal. – Reuters

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