The wetter the better say Crusaders

It's nine years since the competition's most successful franchise the Crusaders last won the title.

Coach Scott Robertson's midas touch in just his first year in charge has seen the Crusaders win all but one of their games.

He was particularly pleased with they how they waded to a 17-nil quarterfinal win against the Highlanders on a watelogged AMI Stadium and would be just as happy for it to be as wet again tomorrow night.

"The wetter the better," enthused Roberston.

"Hell yeah...we're boys from the deep South and we embrace it.'

Tamanivalu turns down Chiefs

Powerful utility back Tamanivalu had been chased by Colin Cooper about a move back to Hamilton, confirming he had spoken to the incoming Chiefs coach on the phone.

However, the three-test All Black has decided to spend a second season with the Crusaders and said it was a relatively straight-forward decision when he thought about how much he has been enjoying this first year with the team.
"I have been loving playing for this team and learning from the coaches and players around me.

Ngatai to start for Chiefs

After missing the trip to Cape Town for the 17-11 quarterfinal win over the Stormers with an ankle injury, Ngatai has recovered and been named at second five-eighth for the clash in Christchurch on Saturday night. He takes the place of Stephen Donald, who was impressive against the Stormers, but will instead play from the bench.

Crusaders still at full strength

By sticking with the 23 men who combined to dust-up the Highlanders 17-0 in the wet, slippery conditions during the quarterfinal at AMI Stadium last weekend, Robertson has signaled the Crusaders believe they are capable of executing a variety of game plans during the sudden-death fixture.

Rain is forecast to fall in Canterbury over the next few days, but to clear by Saturday afternoon.

Chiefs up against history

By flying into New Zealand from South Africa, as they will on Tuesday morning, then winning a playoff match, they will have ended a 12-game losing streak for teams in such situations, that stretches back almost 20 years.

Travelling teams have struggled in the playoffs full stop, winning just 23 per cent of matches, but when they have to fly across the Indian Ocean, and then across the Tasman, that figure falls to 13 per cent.

Chiefs beat Stormers to book spot in semis

A quarter-final packed with tension remained in the balance through the final stages and was ultimately won by the visitors' superior defence and the goal-kicking boot of Damian McKenzie.

It means the Chiefs must next face the Crusaders in Christchurch, with the possibility of a return to South Africa for the final if the Lions beat the Hurricanes.

Handling errors predominated throughout the match, which didn't remotely resemble the Chiefs' 60-21 win in the equivalent match at the same venue last year.

Carter admits to Lions naivety

The All Blacks great, who values the tour alongside playing at the World Cup, destroyed the Lions, scoring 33 points and crossing for two tries with a masterclass at first five-eighth to win the second test 48-18 in Wellington to secure the series.

Carter had just 18 tests to his name prior to that Lions series and admits he didn't appreciate the significance of the tour until facing questions from British media.

"I remember it started in 2004 when the All Blacks toured the northern hemisphere in the autumn series [in November and December]," Carter told ESPN.

Chiefs look to play expansive game

Coach Dave Rennie says the Chiefs intend to stick to the high speed, open game they've used successfully in their Super 12 season.

But says he's well aware of the way the Lions defence strangled the attacking flair out of the Maori All Blacks in their 32-10 victory in Rotorua on Saturday.

"We like to use the ball. We try and play a high tempo, high skill game of footy and the Lions have been excellent at choking teams from doing that so we've got a few challenges ahead of us."

Lions positions still up for grabs

Tuesday's match in Hamilton is the last before the first test against the All Blacks and many pundits believe most of the side who destroyed the Maori All Blacks 32-10 at the weekend will run out at Eden Park on Saturday.

No players who started the Maori game will face the Chiefs.

Gatland, however, said that there were still test discussions to be had, with the versatile Liam Williams given the opportunity at fullback to push for inclusion in the test squad, while tour captain Sam Warburton is under pressure from Sean O'Brien for the openside flanker role.

Chiefs win a thriller in Wellington

The game was level at 7-7 with 15 minutes left on the clock before a break from Chiefs winger Shaun Stevenson set up James Lowe in the left corner to give the visitors the lead at 14-7.

RNZI reports the try was a fitting trophy for Lowe who played in his 50th Super Rugby match tonight.

Chiefs fullback Damien McKenzie then added a penalty in the final 10 minutes to push their lead to 10 points.

Then in the final three minutes of the game, the Hurricanes got down the other end of the field and scored through Wes Goosen, getting within three points of the Chiefs.