Super Rugby Pacific: Chiefs' Shaun Stevenson eager to pile pain on Crusaders in Christchurch

The Chiefs are bent on continuing the Crusaders' horrific 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season, with fullback Shaun Stevenson eager to hand the Canterbury-based side their sixth straight loss.   

After winning seven consecutive Super Rugby crowns in each of the past seven years under now-All Blacks maestro Scott Robertson, the Crusaders' poor start to 2024 is the worst in their history.  

The Chiefs were actually the side that kicked off the downward spiral, beating the Crusaders 33-29 in the season's opening game.  

Now, five rounds later, Stevenson only wants to make it worse for the winless side.   

"Hopefully we can make that five into a six this week," he said.   

"Obviously we've been through our fair share of losses before, and I guess they [the Crusaders] are always up the top, so it's good to see them down the bottom."   

Like many of his teammates, Stevenson's ill-feelings towards the Crusaders is likely inspired by their heartbreaking defeat in the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific final at the hands of the men in red.   

The Crusaders also knocked the Chiefs out of the 2022 season in a one-sided semifinal.  

Unlike their South Island rivals, the Chiefs have won all but one of their opening six games. However, after an upset loss to the Reds and a shaky final quarter against the Highlanders last weekend, Stevenson is aware they are yet to reach their full potential.    

"The last few weeks we have been pretty good for the first 50 or 60 minutes, or either just one half that's good, so we got plenty to work on," Stevenson admitted.   

"Probably just a bit of complacency - we started well and then I guess the boys that are coming onto the field, it's about getting down the right end, especially in bad conditions, not throwing silly offloads away.  

"Just be accurate and go out there and execute."  

Shaun Stevenson runs with the ball during a game between the Chiefs and the Crusaders
Shaun Stevenson runs with the ball during a game between the Chiefs and the Crusaders Photo credit: Getty Images

Despite them not winning a game in 2024, the one-test All Black is also conscious it won't take much for the Crusaders to suddenly flip the switch and get back to their winning ways.    

"They've been in the games most of the last five or six weeks, they're always a tough opponent and we know that, so I think the focus needs to be on ourselves.   

"When we do get a lead, good teams put them away."  

Will it be the week the Crusaders finally get on track, or will the Chiefs continue to pile on their pain?  

Join Newshub at 7pm Friday for live updates of the Chiefs v Crusaders Super Rugby Pacific clash