Brad Weber eyes dream swansong against ‘benchmark’ Crusaders

Dylan Coetzee
Super Rugby Pacific: Brad Weber on the charge for the Chiefs

Chiefs co-captain Brad Weber is targeting a dream send-off against the Crusaders in the Super Rugby Pacific final this weekend.

Weber has been a great servant for the club, notching up over a century of caps since his debut in 2014, and is set to move to Top 14 side Stade Francais after this season.

There are few better ways to bow out than a final against a powerful side that Weber describes as the “benchmark” over the course of his career.

Wants to beat the best

The scrum-half would not have it any other way as he wants his table-topping Chiefs side to prove they are worthy champions against the best there is.

“To be honest, I couldn’t have asked for anything better,” Weber said.

“I wouldn’t have admitted it yesterday, but I’m pretty happy that the Crusaders got through. They’ve been the benchmark for what feels like all of my career.

“And we want what they’ve got, and what they’ve had. So it’s a bit poetic that we get to have a crack at the champs. If we want to be the best, we’ve got to beat the best, so no better team to test ourselves against and really prove that we deserve to be champs.”

With his departure confirmed, Weber has been waiting to see when his last game for the club will be, but with the Chiefs progressing to the final he can empty the tank in what is for sure his last outing.

“Both last week and this week I’ve come off [the field, substituted] and it’s been really tight, and I’ve been thinking, ‘Geez surely this isn’t the end, surely I get that one last week’,” he said.

“So a bit of relief, I guess, knowing that it’s the final, it’s my last game, and I’ll just throw everything at it.

“I’ll fork out a fair bit to get some extra tickets, hopefully we get first dibs.”

Defence key in the final

The All Black reflected on past failures in play-offs with the Chiefs and believes the current side has what it takes to produce the goods based on a strong defence.

“In the last few years, when the opportunities have presented themselves we haven’t always taken them, and it’s cost us in finals footy,” he explained.

“Now we’re showing composure in those moments, rather than being a bit skittery, I guess. So that’s huge.

“And then, defensively, we just feel really, really tight and like we can hold out teams for long periods. And I think the Crusaders have probably taught us that, particularly last year, and in the final the year before, if you have a strong defensive team, it goes a long way to winning a championship.

“They’ve been the benchmark, and we feel like we’re in a pretty good space there. It’s going to take the best of the best effort to get over them. But I’m full of confidence, man.”

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