The Chiefs' quarter-final victory over the Stormers was slightly less convincing than what they managed against the same opposition at the same stage last season.

But that's perfectly fine as far as coach Dave Rennie and his players are concerned - repeating their steps from 12 months earlier is an outcome these Chiefs are striving their utmost to avoid.

Instead, if they wish to reach their first Super Rugby final since 2013, Rennie's men must amend whatever mistakes they made after their 61-20 victory against the Stormers in 2016, when they followed that thumping by barely firing a shot in their semifinal defeat against the Hurricanes.

This time around, after the Chiefs needed Shaun Stevenson's late try to put away the Stormers yesterday morning, it's the Crusaders who will be lying in wait. And unless the Chiefs prove they have learned their lesson, Rennie's tenure at the franchise will soon end on a losing note.


"When you don't win, you start looking at everything you did," the coach said of last year's semifinal disappointment. "Did we make the guys sluggish by doing too much practise and so on?

"There's a lot of things to talk about but we won't be talking about the fact it's difficult to fly over [to South Africa] and fly straight back and perform well. We haven't got an option, so we'll talk positively about what we need to do and hopefully we'll be fizzing on Saturday."

That mood will need to be attained despite another abbreviated week of preparation, with the Chiefs set to arrive back in Hamilton early tomorrow morning.

While the Crusaders will spend the week leading up to the semifinal enjoying the luxury of sleeping in their own beds, their opponents will be focused on merely syncing their sleeping patterns appropriately.

And the challenge, as evidenced by the teams' respective quarter-final victories, extends well beyond the bedroom. While the Chiefs struggled to get their game going and had to rely on an outstanding defensive effort in Cape Town, the Crusaders were completely ascendant in trying conditions in Christchurch.

There will be plenty of pressure on a visiting pack led by Brodie Retallick to match their illustrious foes, but Rennie was keen to focus on his own unit rather than the home side's.

"Obviously we've got a huge amount of respect for the Crusaders - I thought their pack was incredibly dominant again," he said. "That's going to be a challenge for us, but we've got a pretty good pack.

"We're excited. It's down to four teams now - that's where we want to be."