Chiefs are all on for back-to-back crowns

RICHARD KNOWLER
Last updated 08:18 28/07/2013
Waikato Times

The Chiefs emerged the victors over the Crusaders in the first semi-final of the 2013 Super Rugby competition.

Chiefs vs Crusaders
PETER DRURY/Fairfax NZ Zoom
Liam Messam takes on the Crusaders defence.

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Work begins for Dave Rennie this morning.

The Chiefs coach was determined to enjoy Saturday night's 20-19 semifinal win over the Crusaders but that will all be history when he rolls-up his sleeves tomorrow.

Following the epic win, wing Lelia Masaga revealed the Chiefs players have installed a saying called BTB - back to back.

That statement reflects their desire to defend their Super Rugby title.

Rennie, who is hoping to collect his second title in just two years as Chiefs boss, said he wouldn't watch this morning's semi in Pretoria between the Bulls and Brumbies.

That's because he would prefer to analyse the game knowing what the result was - that would enable him to view it dispassionately and analyse each side's strategies.

And Rennie knows his side, who produced such a mighty effort with their tackling against the Crusaders, are capable of doing the double.

"On the whole there was just some fantastic moments defensively - I'm just very proud of them,'' Rennieemphasised.

Chiefs captain Craig Clarke admitted the tight finish reminded him of last year's battle against the Crusaders in the semi at Waikato Stadium - which his side won 20-17.

"There was a real sense of déjà vu - they were really throwing everything at us and there was some pretty tough scrambling. We just scrambled and scrambled - there was some pretty good defence there," Clarke said.

"We wanted to just play footy against him. Don't let them settle into their good defensive system where they control the game.''

Clarke also acknowledged the grit and work ethic of openside flanker Tanerau Latimer who started the game ahead of All Blacks flanker Sam Cane.

"He is a real workhorse for us. He is a real catalyst for us. He hadn't trained all week, he has got a massive big bruise down his leg and epitomises what the Chiefs all are all about.''

Rennie said that after his side were thrashed in Christchurch three weeks ago they were prepared to change their game plan and there was no panicking despite trailing 9-3 at halftime.

"We were reasonably at halftime and it was just a massive effort in the second half.''

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