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Do-or-die suits Chiefs well

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Sportal.co.nz     28 Jul 2012     Getty Images

Coach Dave Rennie said while the side had lost their two previous games, they were aware they were in the play-offs and while they didn't want to use that as an excuse there had been more intensity in Friday's effort.

"You could see from the first whistle there was far more intensity in everything we did," he said.

"We got a lot of ball, a lot of quick ball and put them under pressure and there were a lot of guys who made a big contribution defensively."

Captain Craig Clarke said the game had been a complete contrast from the last one the two sides played. On that occasion, when he hadn't played due to an illness, the Chiefs had been chasing the game but this time it had fallen to the Crusaders to do the chasing.

Clarke said it had helped that Dan Carter's last penalty goal had been short and when the Crusaders attempted to set up a dropped goal the Chiefs could see them preparing and while they hadn't practised a counter they knew what was required.

"We were just trying to get guys on their feet to charge a kick down," he said.

Coach Dave Rennie said defence had been the side's key attribute this year and that had produced a lot of the side's attack as well.

Former All Blacks coach Wayne Smith had been responsible for that department and he had done a great job which the boys had responded to, he said.

"We were forced to make a lot of tackles and the boys did a bloody good job again. We just rapt to still be in the race and it would be great to play here, of course, but if we have to go to Africa, we will have to go," he said.

The side has plans in hand if needing to travel to fly to Sydney on Sunday and then to Johannesburg and straight to Cape Town on Monday.

Rennie acknowledged the impressive effort of young prop Ben Tameifuna who had again been a powerful force for the side.

The original intention had been to get him into good shape and to learn about rugby at the top level but his chance came in the second week after injury to Ben Afeaki and Tamaifuna took his chance well.

"He's proved to be a big block to move, he's got an amazing skill set for a big fellow and distributes really well and if he gets close to you he can hurt you," he said.

"He's been a big contributor to the success of the side and I'm obviously looking forward to him having another big one for us this week."