Crusaders halfback Andy Ellis expects the Chiefs to fire up in the forwards in Friday night's Super Rugby semi-final at Waikato Stadium. Photo: Getty Images
The Crusaders expect the Chiefs to have stewed over their forward pack's trouncing the last time the teams met when they clash in Friday's Super Rugby semi-final.
It is less than three weeks since the same teams met at the same Waikato Stadium venue, where the Crusaders won 28-21 - a scoreline that didn't reflect the dominance of their forward pack. The Chiefs pack struggled for parity at scrum time and were blitzed in the lineouts by the All Blacks-laden Crusaders forwards.
Crusaders halfback Andy Ellis anticipated that won't be forgotten - comparing it with his own team's reaction after scrum difficulties in the third round match between the sides in Napier in March.
"That never left the minds of some of our guys until we played them again," Ellis said. "Their [Chiefs] focus will no doubt be on the set piece. They will work hard on their lineout, I've got no doubt they'll go well there too. You get what you put in and what you're focused on."
Ellis said control of the set pieces and collision at the tackle were vital parts of play-off rugby. The Crusaders pack gave the No.9 a dream ride in Saturday's 15-point defeat of the Bulls in Christchurch.
"If the backs are going to strike, they need good set piece ball. Against the Bulls, [five-eighth] Dan Carter had time to make some really good decisions to get us playing at the right end of the park. Likewise, if you disrupt opposition ball, it's just so hard to get the flow."
Ellis remained wary of Carter's opposition number, Aaron Cruden, saying the Chiefs playmaker had enjoyed an excellent campaign.