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Boss of Waikato Chiefs sympathizes with under-pressure Crusaders

WELLINGTON: Waikato Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan expressed sympathy for the struggling Canterbury Crusaders ahead of Friday’s Super Rugby showdown. Despite the Crusaders’ historic success, they currently sit at the bottom of the table with no wins in five games. McMillan, who knows the feeling of a tough season, having experienced it himself in 2020, acknowledged the challenge the Crusaders face.

“We all kind of feel for them because we have been in that situation,” McMillan told reporters. “They will be turning over every stone to figure out what they can do to turn up and win on Friday night.”

The Chiefs, who are second in the table, have already defeated the Crusaders earlier this season. However, McMillan anticipates a difficult match in Christchurch, especially considering the Crusaders’ formidable history and the pressure they are currently under.

The Chiefs will be without All Blacks playmaker Damian McKenzie, who is resting a knee strain. In his absence, 22-year-old flyhalf Josh Jacomb will make his first start for the Chiefs in an experienced backline.

Despite the Crusaders’ struggles, McMillan expects a tough contest. “It’s a bit of a cauldron, never an easy place to go. We know what’s coming,” he added.

Meanwhile, the table-topping Wellington Hurricanes are aiming for their sixth consecutive win as they face the Otago Highlanders on Saturday. All Blacks prop Tyrel Lomax is set to make his 100th Super Rugby appearance for the Hurricanes.

Hurricanes coach Clark Laidlaw faces a selection dilemma with several players vying for spots in the lineup. However, he sees this as a positive, indicating the depth of talent in the squad.

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