Todd braces for dynamic duo
Crusaders openside flanker Matt Todd doesn't know whether he will be opposing Tanerau Latimer or Sam Cane in the Investec Super Rugby showdown against the Chiefs in Christchurch on Friday night, but he does know both are top-drawer players.
Cane played all 80 minutes of the first two tests but was subbed off in the second half of the final test, allowing Todd to make his All Blacks debut.
"They are both quality No 7s. They [the Chiefs] have two great players to pick from so whoever they choose is going to be a difficult opponent. Preparing for either player is not massively different as you prepare for a quality player," Todd said at Crusaders training.
Todd, who has started in 13 of the Crusaders 14 matches and only been subbed twice, still recalls the thrill of winning his first All Blacks cap, but has turned his attention to helping the fifth-placed Crusaders advance up the ladder in the next two weeks before the play-offs.
"Just being in the All Blacks camp was awesome and I learnt a lot. Hopefully I can take from what I learnt there into the Crusaders environment. It was good getting back with the boys last week and having a good week's preparation this week."
Todd featured prominently in the 40-12 win over the Highlanders in Dunedin last Saturday and believes he will benefit from his first decent outing for some time.
"I was a bit rusty out there and the lungs were hurting near the end so it was good to get a hit-out."
Having lost three of the last four matches against the Chiefs, including the 2012 semi-final, Todd understandably holds them in high regard.
"The Chiefs are the benchmark of the competition. We know what we are in for and we know what we have to bring if we want to match them. But it's exciting that we are at home and you want to test yourself against the best."
Todd feels the Crusaders have more petrol left in the tank to ignite its performance. "We've shown snippets of it [best form] but we've got to put a 80-muinute performance together.
"Last week was never going to be perfect being our first game together for a long time, but we made some good strides. It certainly proved to be a crucial win with the way a couple of results went at the weekend and the bonus point could also come in handy further down the track."