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Chiefs look for lift in Super Rugby form

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 2/05/2017

Co-captain Aaron Cruden is looking for the Chiefs to lift their performance and end a Super Rugby form slum when they face the Queensland Reds in New Plymouth.

The Chiefs battled through April, losing their first game of the year to the Stormers before struggling to put away the lowly Cheetahs, Force and Sunwolves.

Cruden is unsure why they have struggled against foreign opposition this season after starting so well against New Zealand teams.

"A lot of the Kiwi sides are very similar and they like to throw the ball around and play with a high tempo, and maybe our style suits that a little better," he said.

"When we've come up against Australian or South African opposition, we haven't adapted as quickly as we need to and we're aware of that."

However, the All Blacks first five-eighth is wary of the threats the Reds will present on Saturday night, with the likes of Wallabies playmaker Quade Cooper in their side.

"When Quade's on, he's one of the best," Cruden said.

"We know he likes to pull out some magic from his bag of tricks, so we're going to have to make sure we defend as a unit, shutting down his time and space."

Cruden is also wanting to put his best foot forward as he chases selection for the British and Irish Lions series and the goal of winning his 50th cap before heading to France.

The 28-year-old, who debuted for the All Blacks in 2010, has made 47 Test appearances.

The injury to Lima Sopoaga means he will probably be reserve first-five behind Beauden Barrett, but for now he's focused on the Chiefs.

"I'm happy with where things are at and I'm just building as the season goes on," he said.

"But if I get the opportunity to play against the Lions, I'll certainly put my hand up and look forward to that challenge."

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