Crusaders

Deans warns of Chiefs threat

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Crusaders coach Robbie Deans, having watched his team open the back door to the chasing pack in the Super 14 play-off race, has warned that his team faces a huge challenge in their match against the Chiefs this week.

Victories at the weekend by the Brumbies (15-6 over the Crusaders) and Bulls (40-19 over the Blues) ensured that no team is yet assured of a place in the semi-finals and home advantage in the play-offs could fall to any of four teams.

The final round of league fixtures will see the Crusaders host the Chiefs at Jade Stadium on Friday. The Crusaders need one point from the game, a bonus point in any form, to secure their place in the play-offs. They need a win to secure home ground advantage.

The Chiefs must beat the Crusaders, with or without a bonus point, and then hope the Blues and/or Bulls come unstuck. Should the Chiefs win with a bonus points, and beat the Crusaders by 54 points or more – while the Sharks, Blues and Bulls lose, then the Chiefs can still finish first on the standings.

Having squandered the opportunity to seal their play-off place, the Crusaders now have to lift themselves and what could be a brutal all-New Zealand derby.

Deans said his side would work on its game ahead of Friday’s match in Christchurch.

“We’ve got six days before the Chiefs, and they’ve got a lot to play for,” Deans said.

“Their season is still live, if they can get a result.

“We also want to push on and convert our first place on the standings into a home play-off, ideally, and that’s the opportunity we’ve got this week.”

Deans praised the Brumbies for their defensive effort, after the Canberra-based side edged the Crusaders in a try-less match at the weekend.

“We were aware of what we were coming into, but we weren’t good enough to get home on the night,” Deans said of the loss in Canberra.

“It was a great defensive effort from the Brumbies.

“They forced a lot of error, and put pressure on us at the line-out. We had a couple of opportunities but we didn’t convert.

“Credit to the Brumbies, they did their homework and profited.”

 

365 Digital

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