Cruden wants more from Chiefs in final
July 30, 2013
The Chiefs were resolute in defence against the Crusaders © Getty Images
Winning without the ball has become routine for the Chiefs but five-eighth Aaron Cruden wants an all-round performance against the Brumbies to carry them to a second Super Rugby title this weekend.
Cruden sent the Brumbies a none-too-subtle warning ahead of Saturday's Super Rugby final, saying the defending champions have still to produce their best this season, despite qualifying top and seeing off the All Blacks-packed Crusaders on Saturday.
"We haven't quite hit our straps this season and we probably didn't again (against the Crusaders)," Cruden said. "We made mistakes so we needed our defence. The Crusaders really stretched us at times but that desperation to get back was shown out there."
Better known for his playmaking skill, Cruden's own tackling shone at Waikato Stadium. He made one resonating hit on opposite Dan Carter and later pulled off a desperate grab from behind to halt Crusaders' centre Ryan Crotty a metre short of the tryline.
It typified a Chiefs side who have made the second-most tackles of any team this season. Their average through the round-robin phase of just under 132 tackles per game was second only to the last-placed Kings (133.4) and well ahead of the next most-prolific tackling team, the Crusaders (126.4). It is one of the few Chiefs' team statistics that is markedly different to the Brumbies. The Australian side average just 106.6 tackles per game - the third least.
The trend continued in both semi-finals, where the Chiefs made 137 tackles against the Crusaders in a high-speed affair while the Brumbies made 89 in their 26-23 upset of the Bulls - a game which featured considerably more kicking.
Cruden - whose 50m intercept try came after a long period of Chiefs tackling - says his team are comfortable in defence, an attitude harnessed by veteran assistant coach Wayne Smith.
"He really instils that mana, that hunger in all the boys to keep getting up and keep making those tackles," Cruden said.
Follow live text commentary of the Super Rugby Final between the Chiefs and the Brumbies on Saturday, August 3, from 7pm (NZT), 5pm (EST), 7am (GMT)
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