Crusaders right where they want to be

Date published: July 23 2013

Crusaders assistant Tabai Matson says his side are happy to be playing the Chiefs and not the Bulls in the Super Rugby semi-finals.

Crusaders assistant coach Tabai Matson reveals that his side are quite happy to be playing the Chiefs in the Super Rugby semi-finals rather than heading to Pretoria to face the Bulls.

The men from Canterbury hammered the Bulls 41-19 when the two teams met in Christchurch early in the season, and came out evens against the Chiefs, losing their first encounter before bouncing back to win the second.

While this record may suggest that the Bulls, who also finished behind the Chiefs in the overall standings, would be the prefered opponents, Matson knows that facing the South Africans at their fortress Loftus Versfeld would have been a different prospect all together.

“You take every week as it comes, but to play the Chiefs up there [Hamilton] is what we wanted,” Matson told Sportal.

“The [Chiefs] we played here a couple of weeks ago wasn't the team that we played in Hamilton before. They'll be a different mob and will be a full force which is going to be exciting,” he added.

While many were left raving about the Crusaders after they dismantled the Reds 38-9 in their play-off clash on Saturday, Matson has taken a more measured approach to the result.

“You could see the Lions tour had taken toll on the Wallabies and I'll leave it at that,” he said. “They looked like they were a team on their last legs but we punished them for it.”

The Crusaders are regulars in the semi-finals, having made it to the final four for the last 12 years, but they have not won the title since 2008 and Matson knows that unless they go all the way, the 2013 vintage will not be remembered as a top notch one.

“Your legacy is built around how you perform in those last few weeks so this group is fired up for a Chiefs team that have got the better of us over the last couple of seasons. This is the main event for us and we've got a massive force waiting for us in Hamilton,” he asserted.