Rugby - Crusaders and Chiefs 'hate' each other, says Rennie

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Rugby - Crusaders and Chiefs 'hate' each other, says Rennie

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WELLINGTON (Reuters) – Waikato Chiefs coach Dave Rennie confirmed on Friday what many New Zealand rugby fans had thought for a number of years – his side and the Canterbury Crusaders really do not like each other. “That’s pretty accurate, I’d say,” Rennie told Radio Sport on Friday when asked if there was any ‘hate’ between the two sides ahead of their Super Rugby semi-final clash in Christchurch on Saturday. “In the end, they’ve won so many titles and I guess we wanted to really stand up to them six years ago,” added Rennie indicating he had introduced a new mindset to the under-performing Chiefs when he took over in 2012. The 53-year-old had immediate success leading the Chiefs to successive titles in 2012 and 2013, beating the seven-time champions Crusaders in the semi-finals in both years. During Rennie’s tenure the Chiefs have also more than matched the Crusaders, winning nine of their 13 clashes, some of which have been punctuated by niggly off-the ball incidents and pushing matches between players. Rennie, however, said those incidents were more reflective of the nature of New Zealand derbies rather than any particular enmity towards the Christchurch-based Crusaders. “There have been some titanic clashes – they’re always physical, all the Kiwi games are,” Rennie added. “This will be no different and there’s more on the line. It should be a pretty brutal affair.” The Chiefs enter the clash as underdogs having had to deal with a gruelling travel schedule back to New Zealand from South Africa. Last year’s off-field events, when the team was criticised for their attitude to women following an incident at their end-of-season ‘Mad Monday’ celebrations, had galvanised the side, said assistant coach Andrew Strawbridge. “We’ve had our challenges and we’ve had to look inside ourselves and understand the way we have been viewed,” he told reporters on Friday. “People can choose to view it as they will, but for us it’s a really positive driver, this opportunity. “Since 2012 no-one’s expected us to do the business. “So it’s something we’re used to. And I understand (about being underdogs). All the percentages say that, if you’re a gambling man… but we’ve done some reasonably special things in the last six years, and this is another challenge.”

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)
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