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Chiefs aim to match Crusaders up front

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 15/05/2017

The Crusaders continued their momentum last weekend with a clinical 20-12 win over the Hurricanes, extending their unbeaten streak to 11 matches. © Rob Jefferies/Getty Images The Crusaders continued their momentum last weekend with a clinical 20-12 win over the Hurricanes, extending their unbeaten streak to 11 matches. The Chiefs know they must front up against the Crusaders in Suva to maintain their hopes of winning Super Rugby's New Zealand conference.

The Crusaders continued their momentum last weekend with a clinical 20-12 win over the Hurricanes, extending their unbeaten streak to 11 matches.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie acknowledges his side, who are second in the conference, will have to match the red and blacks' power in the set piece on Friday night.

"That's where they destroyed the Canes and traditionally they have always been strong up front with an All Black-ladened tight five to deal to your scrum," he said.

"If they can choke you there, it goes a long way to winning games so we're going to have to front up in that area."

Rennie has been impressed with the Crusaders' overall form this season as the seven-time champions chase their first title since 2008.

"They have just been very clinical this year and that's probably been the major difference with their ability to put the foot on the throat when they have teams under pressure," he said.

"The Crusaders have won a lot of games that you thought they would have lost with five minutes to go."

Rennie pointed to the character and belief within the Crusaders, and was sure new coach Scott Robertson was the driver.

After a series of flat performances, the Chiefs turned a corner two weekends ago with a convincing 46-17 win over the Reds in New Plymouth.

Rennie has already witnessed a lift in urgency at training as his players come off a bye and prepare for a derby.

"You notice a real difference as there is more edge when it's mate against mate," he said.

"It's a big step up as we've had seven non-Kiwi sides to play recently so the intensity will be much higher but we're looking forward to it."

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