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Chiefs bracing for a Super Rugby storm

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 27/07/2016

Cruden is looking forward to marking Beauden Barrett in a showdown between the two All Black playmakers on Saturday night. © Getty Images Cruden is looking forward to marking Beauden Barrett in a showdown between the two All Black playmakers on Saturday night. First five-eighth Aaron Cruden is bracing for a storm as the Chiefs prepare to face the Hurricanes in Wellington for a place in the Super Rugby final.

Cruden was impressed with his former team's 41-0 demolition of the Sharks in the capital last weekend.

He believes they have improved significantly since the Chiefs narrowly defeated them 28-27 in a controversial game at the same venue in April.

"They're a lot stronger side but, in saying that, I think we are too," Cruden said, after his side thrashed the Stormers 60-21 in their quarter-final in Cape Town.

"It's going to be a great challenge with a lot on the line."

Cruden described the Hurricanes as slick opponents who were the benchmark of the competition last year.

He was sure they would be keen to rectify finishing that season as beaten finalists.

"But we're pretty driven and hungry as well, so it's going to be two teams at the top of their game really going at each other," he said.

Cruden is looking forward to marking Beauden Barrett in a showdown between the two All Black playmakers on Saturday night.

"He's going to be one of the players we're going to have to try and shut down if we want to win this game."

The size of the challenge the Hurricanes will present isn't lost on the Chiefs, who are attempting to win their third Super Rugby title after back-to-back triumphs in 2012-2013.

"All the New Zealand derbies that we have been involved in this year have been outstanding - the physicality, the skill sets and intensity of the game have been up there," Cruden said.

"It's a semi-final so there's going to be a lot of added pressure on the players to perform."

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