The Chiefs take on the Blues in their first home game of the Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa season at FMG Stadium Waikato on Saturday night.
Having Otere Black at 10 and Beauden Barrett at 15 was a success for the Blues in round one. It’s a set up Cruden knows well, having played with Damian McKenzie at fullback.
There’s a strong chance of having four quality first five-eighths on the field come Saturday night, with Cruden and McKenzie taking on Black and Barrett. The 31 year-old is excited about the challenge.
“I know both those guys really well and listening to Otere in his interview after the game he stated that as a first five it’s always nice to have another first five on the field. In terms of controlling things, it does make it nice and easy. You’ve got another playmaker on the field giving a solid voice and great direction and you are able to work off each other.”
Cruden said that things flow quite naturally for teams who predominantly run with a dual pivot set up.
“For us we will have to try and nullify them. They both like to organise, they are good distributors and they are well balanced. So, it’s about limiting their opportunities, limiting their time on the ball and if we do that hopefully things might be able to flow for us a bit there.”
The Chiefs veteran came off the bench in the second half of their narrow loss to the Highlanders last weekend. He was nursing a calf niggle when he returned to training after lockdown, but he’s now 100%. Despite the result, Cruden loved the occasion at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
“Everyone was just happy to be back playing rugby in front of fans. After everything that the world and the nation has gone through it was pretty cool to lace the boots up again.
“The result wasn’t ideal but for us it’s about controlling those crucial moments and making sure we understand each action has a bit of a consequence and we want to make sure consequences are positive for our team.”
The Chiefs and Cruden are pumped to be able to play in front of their home fans on Saturday night. So far more than 17,000 tickets have been sold to the encounter and Cruden’s hoping for a sell-out.
“It would be awesome. By Saturday we really hope to see capacity, a few cow bells and paint on the faces of the young kids. And it’s the battle of the Bombay’s. What more could you ask for?”
Get your tickets to Saturday’s blockbuster between the Chiefs and Blues at FMG Stadium Waikato HERE. Kick off at 7:05pm.