Chiefs looking to repeat winning formula in Christchurch

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But Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan said while it was a daunting task for any side, their earlier success in March showed that while it felt like a long time ago, it showed the Crusaders were beatable, he said.

 

"Both teams would have improved since then but once you get into finals footy it is what you produce on the day," he said.

 

"They're a great side, well-coached, great roster and tough to beat at home and a parochial crowd. Everything is against you going down there, but you've just got to embrace that, celebrate the fact it has been a bit of a journey to get to this point and we're all at the start line together," he said.

 

"We know if we play to our potential we give ourselves a great chance."

 

Ending the Crusaders' unbroken championship record of 26 wins would be tough. That reflected how well they knew the requirements for performing in finals rugby, he said.

 

"The challenge for us is to rise to the occasion and force them into a few errors and create a few opportunities for ourselves and we need to be good enough to take them on the day.

"We demonstrated down there that we have the ability but you've got to turn up and perform. There's no magic formula, we know we've got the squad that can go down there and win, but we need to perform for 80 minutes," he said.

 

They would be looking to maintain their concentration in scrummaging. While regarded as one of the best packs in the competition, they had slipped up occasionally when losing focus, and opponents had taken advantage of that.

 

It was a reminder that one good scrum didn't guarantee a good scrum next time around. But it was the same in all areas of the game where high percentages, in all areas, were what made the difference, he said.

 

McMillan said that apart from those who suffered season-ending injuries, the side was as near full-strength as they could field. Emoni Narawa was the only player missing as he had suffered the 'flu and would be replaced at fullback by Josh Ioane.

 

All Blacks captain and Chiefs co-captain Sam Cane returns from his knee injury from the bench.

 

McMillan said the lack of recent playing time meant it was best to start the game with the loose forwards, who had been playing recently, so Samipeni Finau, Luke Jacobson and Pita Gus Sowakula would start the game.

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