Team fi­nesses a fin­ish

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport -

The Chiefs have re­dis­cov­ered their try-scor­ing abil­ity and chalked up their sec­ond con­sec­u­tive Su­per Rugby bonus­point vic­tory, but their de­fence has slipped.

In the last two matches they have scored 10 tries, but con­ceded nine af­ter let­ting in 17 in their first eight fix­tures.

Their fi­nal game against non- Kiwi op­po­si­tion, this Fri­day at home to the 13th­placed Force at Waikato Sta­dium, is where they must put that right.

Chiefs head coach Dave Ren­nie said in­di­vid­ual tack­ling rather than sys­tems was prob­a­bly the big­gest con­cern from a de­fen­sive point of view, but it was also a case of turn­ing over the ball need­lessly.

‘‘A cou­ple of weeks ago, we were frus­trated be­cause we were cre­at­ing lots of op­por­tu­ni­ties and not fin­ish­ing, but the last cou­ple of weeks has been much bet­ter,’’ Ren­nie said af­ter re­turn­ing from Melbourne where his team beat the Rebels 39-33 – six tries to five.

‘‘We’ve been far more clini- cal and we’re turn­ing pres­sure into points, so that’s been a pos­i­tive . . . We seem to put our­selves un­der pres­sure – the op­po­si­tion get a few more points and we’re un­der stress again. That part of our game has got to be a lot bet­ter.’’

Ren­nie put the de­fen­sive lapses down mainly to missed one-on-one tack­les and said the frus­tra­tion was that there were other as­pects of their de­fence in Melbourne that were out­stand­ing, such as get­ting on the tack­led ball to win turnovers or penal­ties.

‘‘ There was some poor in­di­vid­ual tack­ling that put us un­der pres­sure as well,’’ he said.

The Chiefs had to be more con­sis­tent and had to put teams un­der pres­sure for longer.

Ren­nie said it was more com­pli­cated than a sim­ple case of plac­ing more em­pha­sis on try-scor­ing to earn bonus points at the ex­pense of de­fence.

A cou­ple of ‘‘noth­ing’’ short kicks had handed over pos­ses­sion and put them un­der pres­sure when long kicks to space for ter­ri­tory should have been made.

The in­jury-plagued Chiefs did not suf­fer any fur­ther ma­jor ca­su­al­ties; the big­gest con­cern be­ing an ag­gra­va­tion of an on­go­ing groin prob­lem for cen­tre Tim NanaiWil­liams, who looks set to carry a heavy work­load for the rest of the sea­son now that Richard Kahui’s sea­son ap­pears over.

Nanai- Wil­liams was re­placed by Rob­bie Robin­son in the third quar­ter.

‘‘He felt it the day be­fore, it felt all right game day but dur­ing the game it started to tighten up and we were pretty thin on mid­field cover as it was,’’ Ren­nie said.

How­ever, it was ex­pected Nanai-Wil­liams would be OK to play this week if he con­tin­ued to man­age the in­jury.

Waikato cen­tre Save Tokula was added to the Chiefs’ wider train­ing group for the rest of the sea­son. Tight­head prop Ben Afeaki and half­back Taw­era Kerr- Bar­low are ex­pected to play this week.

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