Preview: Super Rugby Semi-Final

Preview: Super Rugby Semi-Final

We are down to the penultimate week of the Super Rugby Pacific season with just four teams left standing.

The first semifinal kicks off on Friday night when the Crusaders host the Blues in a blockbuster from Christchurch. The Crusaders are unbeaten in home playoff matches since 1998, amassing a 28/28 record.

The Blues won’t be daunted by previous history and will be eager to gain revenge for their loss to the Crusaders in last year’s final.

The second semifinal sees the ACT Brumbies fly the Australian flag against the Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday night. The Chiefs have only had one stumble in 2023 and will go into the game as deserved favourites. But the Brumbies showed great grit to hold out the Hurricanes last week, and with players like Nic White, Rob Valetini and Len Ikitau in their ranks, cannot be discounted. 

Two losses to the Crusaders earlier in the season and how they changed their game between both were lessons the Blues hope to learn from in Friday's Super Rugby Pacific semifinal in Christchurch.

Coach Leon MacDonald said the Blues, who were beaten 28-34 at home and 15-3 in Christchurch in regular season play, believe they had a feel for where the Crusaders were taking their game, while the Blues had grown a lot since they last met.

"You have got to have the perfect game to go down there and win. We can't go down there and be frivolous. We saw the [Fijian] Drua go down there and chuck the ball around and struggle. You've got to play your controlled game, but also, when it is time to open it up, that is what we are guilty of.

"There were times when we were down there last, to have a crack and we didn't use the ball. It's just picking those right times to have a go."

MacDonald said while the Crusaders had some injury problems, he had no doubt they would still field a strong team.

"It's a tough game and there's a reason in 28 playoff games they are unbeaten so they will be backing themselves. We're confident also, we've been building nicely and we have continuity with our squad from last week as well so guys are starting to feel a little more comfortable with each other as well."

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