Chiefs' pack to front up against Crusaders
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Chiefs are well aware of the task ahead of them as they prepare to take on the Crusaders in Suva in Fiji on Friday.
The Crusaders are still unbeaten in this year's Super Rugby tournament with 11 wins from 11 games. They currently have a four-point lead over the Lions in the combined Super Rugby standings.
A powerful pack loaded with All Blacks has laid the foundation for the Christchurch team's success this year and Chiefs coach Dave Rennie knows that his team will have to be on top of their game up front if they are to beat Scott Robertson's side.
"If they can choke you at set-piece it goes a long way towards winning games," Rennie told allblacks.com.
"We'd expect them to bring that and we will have to front really well in that area.
"It's a big challenge but we've got a fair bit of experience up front. Kane [Hames] and Nepo [Laulala] have had cameos with the All Blacks and Nathan [Harris] and Hika [Elliott], while we've got a couple of second rowers who have worn the black jersey as well.
"It's a big step up, we've had seven non-Kiwi sides to play recently so the intensity will be much higher, but we are looking forward to it."
Meanwhile, the Chiefs have been bolstered by the return of flyhalf and co-captain Aaron Cruden ahead of their clash against the Crusaders.
Cruden missed his team's win against the Reds in Round 11 after falling ill. The Chiefs had a bye in Round 12.
Tim Nanai-Williams is also available to be considered for selection this week.
The Crusaders are coming off a 20-12 win over the Hurricanes in Round 12.