Chiefs focusing on final's achievement, not likely opposition

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James Mortimer     29 Jul 2012     Getty Images

There is no tougher test of credentials in Super Rugby Finals Series rugby than facing the Crusaders, and especially not for a Kiwi team that has had to (along with the others) live in the considerable shadow of the red and black machine since 1998.

Despite home advantage to the New Zealand Conference champions many leaned towards a Crusaders victory, but the Chiefs overturned their recent loss to the seven-time title winners with a victory where they had the sort of poise and patience that one associates with the men from Christchurch.

The 20-17 win over the Crusaders may have secured the Chiefs their second final's berth, while denying their rivals an eleventh appearance in a decider, but they are still to learn who they face and where they play.

If the Stormers win, then an imposing trip to DHL Newlands awaits.

With the spectre of their 61-17 loss to the Bulls at Loftus in 2009 in the history books, the Chiefs would prefer the Sharks to down the South African Conference champions.

This would result in the men from Durban travelling to Waikato.

While Rennie noted the defensive strength of the Stormers, he did feel they could be put under pressure if the points flow.

"The Stormers are the strongest defensive side in the competition but they don't tend to hurt too many sides in regards to scoring points," he said.

"If we can put a bit of acid on them by getting a few points and forcing them to play the game, it could put them under a bit of pressure."

A Sharks win will benefit the Chiefs, although they are the form team of the competition in terms of recent results, and have a better offensive arsenal than the Stormers.

"The Sharks are a very strong attacking side. They defend reasonably well, but not as well as the Stormers," Rennie said.

"It would be great to play here of course but if we have to go to Africa then we'd happily go to Africa."

"We're just rapt to still be in the race."