Chiefs happy to be underdogs

Date published: July 23 2013

Craig Clarke appears unfazed that the Chiefs are not favourites to win their semi-final against the Crusaders despite topping the table.

While the Chiefs may have topped the New Zealand conference, it's the Crusaders who have the form heading into their Super Rugby semi-final on Saturday and as such Chiefs captain Craig Clarke is quite happy to see his team labelled as the underdogs for the encounter.

The defending champions didn't look their best in the closing rounds of pool play, losing to the Crusaders before registering an unconvincing win over the Blues.

Meanwhile the Crusaders have been playing some exciting rugby that last saw them beaten in May, by none other than the Chiefs.

With this in mind Clarke concedes it's understandable that the Crusaders are the favourites to book their place in the final.

“Especially after our last performance down there. We were obviously well beaten in all areas and the momentum that they've built, they've been playing a really good brand of footy and we probably haven't been as convincing,” said Clarke.

Chiefs forwards coach Tom Coventry admits that the Waikato outfit is going to need to be at its best if they're to pip the Crusaders.

“They're playing well at the moment,” Coventry told the New Zealand Herald.

“The whole country knows that, the whole world does, they have an international pack. It's more about the attitude you bring to the game. They weren't too happy with their effort against the Hurricanes [a narrow win before the Reds match] and they turned it around.

“We can be much better than we were in Christchurch and we will be. That was particularly disappointing because it was billed as a significant match but we didn't show up.

“We'll have to be at our best but we've done it in the past.”