Chiefs refuse underdogs tag

    2016-07-24 14:36

    Cape Town - The Chiefs might be the lowest seeded of the Super Rugby semi-finalists, but captain Aaron Cruden insisted his side are anything but underdogs as they prepare to take on the top-ranked Hurricanes in Wellington next weekend.

    "We don't consider ourselves in that light," Cruden said after a barnstorming 60-21 away win over the Stormers in Saturday's quarter-final in Cape Town set up a derby clash in the semi-final in New Zealand.

    "We'll head home, get to sleep a few nights in our own beds and then go down to Wellington pretty excited about playing in a semi-final.

    "Rugby fields are all the same when you get out and cross over that white line (and onto the field). We think we have every chance and hopefully Wellington will be nice to us."

    To beat the Hurricanes, who finished the regular season top of the standings and are therefore guaranteed home advantage in the playoff all the way to the field, Cruden said the Chiefs had to be assertive.

    "They are good on counter attack and turn over ball," the All Blacks flyhalf said.

    "Against the Sharks (in one of Saturday's other quarter-finals) the weather conditions weren't great but they still moved the ball and backed their skill set.

    "We have to make sure we limit their opportunities and play at the right end of the field. But we expect that they will chance their arm from anywhere, even deep in their own half.

    "If we are alert defensively, if we are sharp, then hopefully we will be one step ahead and we'll be the ones who apply the pressure, and not them to us."

    There were many pleasing aspects for the Chiefs in the convincing win at Newlands in Saturday's quarter-final but Cruden singled out defence in spite of all the flair, running and superb handling from the Waikato team.

    "Our defence against the Highlanders (in the last regulation season game) was good and we wanted to continue to build on that in the quarter-final," he said.

    "We didn't sit back on our laurels once we were ahead. Hopefully we will build more on this, heading into a semi-final against a pretty good Hurricanes."

    With three of the four Super Rugby semi-finalists coming from world champions New Zealand, Cruden agreed with an assertion that Kiwi rugby had never been in a better place.

    "The amount of young talent coming through in New Zealand never ceases to amaze I suppose," he said.

    "In our squad we have a lot of guys in their first or second year of Super Rugby and who all step up in pressure situations. It's exciting times."

    Read News24’s Comments Policy

    Live Video Streaming
    Video Highlights
    Sport Talk
    Breaking News


    Friday, 21 June 2019
    • Crusaders v Highlanders, Christchurch Stadium 09:35
    Saturday, 22 June 2019
    • Jaguares v Chiefs, Estadio Jose Amalfitani 00:05
    • Hurricanes v Bulls, Westpac Stadium 09:35
    • Brumbies v Sharks, GIO Stadium 12:05
    Friday, 28 June 2019
    • TBC v TBC, TBC 14:00


    15 June 2019
    14 June 2019
    08 June 2019
    07 June 2019
    01 June 2019
    31 May 2019
    25 May 2019
    24 May 2019
    18 May 2019
    17 May 2019
    12 May 2019
    11 May 2019
    10 May 2019
    04 May 2019
    03 May 2019
    27 April 2019
    26 April 2019
    20 April 2019
    19 April 2019
    13 April 2019
    12 April 2019
    06 April 2019
    05 April 2019
    30 March 2019
    29 March 2019
    24 March 2019
    23 March 2019
    22 March 2019
    16 March 2019
    15 March 2019
    09 March 2019
    08 March 2019
    02 March 2019
    01 March 2019
    23 February 2019
    22 February 2019
    16 February 2019
    15 February 2019


    Rank Team P W Pts
    • Jaguares (Q)
    • Bulls (wc)
    • Sharks (wc)
    • Lions
    • Stormers

    Opinion Poll

    Which Super Rugby quarter-final are you most looking forward to?

    Can you name the top Super Rugby tryscorers of all-time?

    There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.