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Instincts learned from 'throwing the ball around' powers Cruden

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Sportal.co.nz     03 Aug 2013     Getty Images

The former Hurricane has blossomed at the Chiefs to the extent that there is genuine competition for star Dan Carter in the All Blacks No.10 jersey.

Cruden delivered a composed performance that was two parts composure and three parts dynamic as the defending champions pipped the Crusaders 20-19 in Hamilton last Saturday.

The All Blacks first five-eighths said the ability to make split second decisions, such as making an intercept for his side's crucial try in the semi-final, came down to instincts learnt growing up.

"We were all young footie players just throwing the ball around and you pick up some instinct there that serves well in today's game," said Cruden.

"It can be hard at times to make the split second calls and sometimes you make the right ones or the wrong ones. At the end of the day that's footie and you've just got to roll with it and give it 100 percent."

Cruden's instincts are crucial to his side's chances of defending their 2012 Investec Super Rugby title. Coming up against the likes of rising star Christian Lealiifano, veteran turnover king George Smith and the exciting Jesse Mogg, the first-five admitted his side needed to challenge at the breakdown and have the ability to diffuse the visitors' inevitable kicking-based game.

"Coming up against their whole side just shows the character they've got in their side, snatching a late win over in Pretoria so we're aware of that. They're a quality side and a smart rugby team.

"Stats say they kick more than any other team, so we'll have to be aware of that. The back three and guys that find themselves in the back three will need to be able to diffuse those high bombs."

On attack it will be Cruden's calls to make. Using his instincts, seasoned with tactical gameplans and structure, would be the key to ensuring his side won't be easy to read on Satrday.

The No.10 was the first to admit his side have had their fair share of luck in the competition, but luck only gets a team so far in a Super Rugby final.

"You don't want to become predictable and robotic, so you have to back your instinct. But you do put strategies in place and certain structures so that you can handle things when they arise on the field."

Kickoff is expected to take place at 7.35pm.