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What the players are saying ahead of huge Chiefs clash

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There’s no doubt Friday’s fixture versus the Chiefs is a big one. It’s a rivalry generations in the making and another chapter will be written when they take the field in Round 6 of the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific competition.


What makes this chapter different? Arguably it’s that the Crusaders sit bottom of the table and the Chiefs sit second. Are the Crusaders embracing the underdog status? And are the Chiefs nervous to be the ones the Crusaders beat to break the loss cycle this season?


All you have to do is listen to these words from Chiefs Head Coach Clayton McMillan: “Sometimes it only takes one victory to help turn the corner. We hope it’s not us, but we won’t be surprised if they throw the kitchen sink at us”.


So what are the Crusaders themselves saying ahead of this one?

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Captain and Starting Halfback

Mitch Drummond

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“I’ve been fortunate enough to be in and around that leadership group for a few years now, so one big difference this week is remembering to run out of the tunnel first on Friday night.


“We have the same mindset every week –  to go out, compete and get in the fight from the start.


“It’s a great opportunity for us to have a crack at one of the top sides in the competition. We’re at home in front of our people, and we’ve got an opportunity to show what we’re about again.


“I don’t think many people expect us to win on Friday, which is a position we’re loving.” 

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Starting Loose Forward

Tom Christie

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“In terms of being an underdog, yeah we can take that mentality but personally I still have the mindset that we are a great team. Every great team in history has gone through adversity, gone through periods when things are gelling and you’ve got to work a few things out.


“The beauty of this competition is that it’s not a two-three-four week competition. There are 15 rounds before you even get into play offs. There’s time.


“Yes we want to learn quickly, yes we want to overcome that adversity, but as long as we put ourselves in the right position, we’ve got every chance.”

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Starting First Five

Riley Hohepa

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“It’s still surreal for me. I run out in the 10, I look at it when I first get it, and it’s very special. Especially when you look at the people who wore it before me.


“I’ve got an obligation to do what they’ve done in this jersey but in my own style and in my own way.


Yeah the Chiefs. I spent the pre-season with them and we’re all friends outside of the white lines,  but when it’s on in there, inside the arena, there’ll be no love lost. I expect nothing less from them either.”

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