Ren­nie’s not bluff­ing, Chiefs will play – Fleck

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE - JOHN GO­LIATH

THERE’S nothing like some mind games ahead of a big rugby match. It adds spice to an al­ready mouth-wa­ter­ing af­fair.

The weather that the Storm­ers and the Chiefs will en­counter in their quar­ter-fi­nal at New­lands tonight has been a talk­ing point. There have been ques­tions about the style of play they will adopt in wet con­di­tions, es­pe­cially be­cause they both en­joy keep­ing the ball alive.

Chiefs coach Dave Ren­nie fired the first salvo. He said his team will play their nat­u­ral at­tack­ing game, but he doesn’t think the Storm­ers have the courage to play their new style in the wet.

“We haven’t played in too much rain this year. We did against the Cru­saders a cou­ple of weeks ago and I think we did a good job deal­ing with that. If it rains, we’ll still play,” Ren­nie said. “I guess the ques­tion is will they still play in the rain, and I’m not sure.”

Rob­bie Fleck be­lieves Ren­nie is telling the truth when he says his Chiefs team are not go­ing to su­press their nat­u­ral in­stincts. But the Storm­ers coach has kept his cards close to his chest about how his team will go about their busi­ness.

“I don’t think he’s bluff­ing, I think they are go­ing to play rugby. We watched them against the Cru­saders in the rain. They cer­tainly did keep ball in hand. Tac­ti­cally, their kick­ing game was a bit dif­fer­ent, but they cer­tainly do keep ball in hand. The weather doesn’t de­ter them too much,” Fleck said.

“I like their at­ti­tude, to be hon­est, I think it’s great. It’s some­thing that we’d cer­tainly like to em­brace as well.]

“Let’s just see what hap­pens on the week­end, whether we kick or run.”

While the Storm­ers are un­der­dogs, they have also had to deal with con­stant re­minders about their pre­vi­ous fail­ures in knock­out matches. In six play­offs, they have only won once, which came in the semi-fi­nal against the Waratahs in 2010.

Their most re­cent heartache came against the Brumbies at New­lands last year, when ev­ery­thing just went south.

How­ever, while Fleck has been a part of most of those de­feats, both on and off the field, there are sev­eral new faces who don’t have the same bag­gage. It’s only Schalk Burger who was around when the Storm­ers dom­i­nated at the turn of the decade.

Fleck has tried to keep things as sim­ple as pos­si­ble this week. “I think what hap­pens when you play in these quar­ters is that you play these qual­ity teams with bril­liant coaches and you want to come up with new plans and great ideas,” he said.

“But to have one week to try and pre­pare and do that is not enough, you know. For us it’s re­ally been about keep­ing the fo­cus on us and keep­ing it sim­ple. Tak­ing the pres­sure off the team, train­ing the way we need to play and try­ing to tick those boxes.”

Tonight, we’ll know the re­spec­tive game plans, and who won the bat­tle. But, and most im­por­tantly, we’ll know if this young Storm­ers side have writ­ten their own legacy.

IT’LL BE DIF­FER­ENT THIS TIME, SCHALK: Rob­bie Fleck has been a part of sev­eral knock­out heartaches.

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