Brumbies target Cruden

    2014-07-18 09:36

    Sydney - The Brumbies say they are treating All Blacks flyhalf Aaron Cruden as the Chiefs' major threat in their rematch of last year's Super Rugby final in Canberra on Saturday.

    The Brumbies head into their playoff as resounding 41-23 winners of their last meeting with the defending champions in Canberra in April.

    But that win counts for nothing in this weekend's showdown, Brumbies director of rugby Laurie Fisher said Friday, as the Chiefs were then missing key playmakers Cruden (thumb) and Tawera Kerr-Barlow (concussion).

    "(The return of) Cruden and Kerr-Barlow make it a whole different team," Fisher told reporters.

    "We've looked at that game, but it's not going to help us win."

    After directing the Chiefs to back-to-back Super Rugby titles last season, Cruden, 25, has started at No 10 for the All Blacks in their four most recent games while Dan Carter was taking a six-month break ahead of the 2015 World Cup.

    Fisher's high assessment of Cruden was echoed by Brumbies' skipper Ben Mowen.

    "One of the best 10s in the competition. He's a massive threat," Mowen said. "We're going to have our hands full."

    While treating Cruden with respect, the Brumbies have their own in-form No 10 in Matt Toomua, who has recently impressed not only with his attack but also with his imposing defensive game.

    Toomua scored a hat-trick of tries for the Brumbies in last week's 47-25 thumping of the Western Force to clinch a play-off place for last year's beaten finalists.

    "Matty is a big physical 10. He's in the best form I've ever seen him," Mowen said.

    The game is likely to be Mowen's last Super Rugby match at Canberra Stadium before he heads to Montpellier in the French Top 14 competition next month.

    The Brumbies have an impressive record in home finals matches, winning seven of their eight encounters, including a 32-17 win over the Chiefs in 2004.

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