After a poor start by their standards the Crusaders will be hell bent on victory against Chiefs in round six.

Making a place for themselves in the top eight of DHL Super Rugby Pacific has become the challenge for the winless Crusaders as they take on the Chiefs in Christchurch on Friday.

Coach Rob Penney said while the Crusaders had made it hard for themselves with their start to the competition, cementing a playoff place would make them as competitive as any other side.

"On a day we can beat anybody. We've just got to get ourselves there. We've talked a lot about performance, and that's what we're focused on."

The Chiefs are standing in their way before they have a chance to regroup during the bye week. They are a side that has progressed and is brimming with confidence, while the Crusaders would probably have gone the other way.

"It's a real challenge for us."

Penney said it was a case of the side working through its processes and taking the necessary lessons from the Blues loss last weekend.

"It's a new opportunity, and we're digging deep. Not too many things alter; we're sticking to our processes. The players worked hard in the early part of the week to review and take what we needed from the Blues game and move forward quickly.

"It's a short turnaround. We don't have a lot of time, so it's critical that we stick to our processes and trust and believe in the direction we're in."

Penney said it was good to have lock Quinten Strange back after he was a late withdrawal from the Blues game.

The captain will be halfback Mitch Drummond.

"Drummy is a legendary Crusader. He loves his red and black and loves this region. It's a great opportunity for him to be run on captain. He's had a wee bit of experience as a captain, but he has had a lot of experience as one of our leaders for a long time.

"I'm rapt for him to be able to drive the side this week with his own flavour to it. It's been awesome the way he's started."

Drummond said whether he was captain or not, the side was under pressure, and he was grateful for the chance to lead them on Friday.

"We've got the same mindset every week, to go out and compete and get in the fight.

"We're feeling in a little bit, but that's the nature of the position we're in. We've dealt with the reality, and now it's about moving forward to the opportunity we've got on Friday night. The mindset's the same. We're turning up on Friday ready to throw everything at it."

He said the goal of reaching the playoffs came down to winning games.

"We need to get on the right side of the scoreboard, but within that it's not being too concerned about that in the moment and controlling what we can within the game and staying in the present and trying not to be too concerned about the big scoreboard."

Flanker Tom Christie said that while they were seen as the underdogs, they had now embraced it.

"I have the mindset that we're a great team, and every great team in history has gone through adversity and periods where things aren't necessarily gelling.

"The beauty of this competition is that it's not a two, three or four-week competition. There's 15 rounds before you even get to the playoffs. So, there's time.

"We want to learn quickly, overcome that adversity and as long as we put ourselves in a position to make the playoffs we've got every chance."

(courtesy of