Super Rugby Aotearoa final: Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan begins mind game battle with Crusaders

The mind games have started in the lead-up to Saturday's Super Rugby Aotearoa title decider.

Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan insists all the pressure is on defending champions Crusaders, who are looking to make it five titles in a row, while his team look to go from last to first in 12 months.

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson is unperturbed, embracing the challenge of another finale.

"Finals are special," Robertson says. "They're unique and we never take them for granted."

But the Chiefs are keeping things low key, believing they have already exceeded public expectations just by making the final week of the tournament.

But McMillan has thrown out the challenge to the Crusaders, pointing to the internal pressure the red-and-blacks have on them to win again. 

"There's pressure [on us] in terms of playing a final, but we know that there's more on them than is on us," he says.

That's water off a duck's back for Robertson, who is unbeaten in Super Rugby finals, while his team are 24-0 at home in playoff matches.

"That's a good mindset from them [Chiefs] if they want to go that way," Robertson says. "Finals are about pressure and you've got to perform in those moments, so I can understand what angle [McMillan] is coming from." 

Super Rugby Aotearoa final: Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan begins mind game battle with Crusaders

The addition of All Blacks midfielder Braydon Ennor will help ease the nerves for the Crusaders coach.

After a nine-month injury layoff, Ennor will start on the bench on Saturday night. 

The 23-year-old has been out since September, after rupturing the ACL in his right knee, but after two club games, Ennor is good to go. 

"It got to the point where I was begging the physios to let me play some footy," Ennor says. "I played some good games for my club and I'm looking forward to hopefully getting a run-around." 

That the Crusaders have the luxury of bringing Ennor off the bench speaks to their depth. It's at the heart of their four-year title run, but Robertson knows they need more than that to seal a historic fifth.

"Experience counts, but it's still on the night.

"We know that at 7:05pm, we need to be at our best." 

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