CHIEFS

NZ Rugby World - - Super Rugby 2018 -

RE­CRUIT­MENT BAL­ANCE

There was an end of an era feel for the Chiefs last year with Dave Ren­nie, Aaron Cru­den, Taw­era Kerr-Bar­low and James Lowe all leav­ing. The Chiefs, as al­ways, have done some smart busi­ness to cover those losses – most no­tably pick­ing up Cana­dian loose for­ward Tyler Ar­dron – but the col­lec­tive ex­pe­ri­ence and tal­ent of the group they have lost can’t be eas­ily re­placed.

WHAT CAN WE EX­PECT TAC­TI­CALLY?

We might see the Chiefs use their pack more di­rectly this year – carry more closer to the fringes and some ex­tended pick and go. With Damian McKen­zie ex­pected to shift to No 10 there will be more em­pha­sis on work­ing around the first re­ceiver and us­ing the skills of An­ton Lienert-Brown and Char­lie Ngatai to bust holes in the mid­field.

GUT FEEL – RISERS OR FALL­ERS?

There are plenty of rea­sons to be­lieve that the Chiefs with a new coach and a new play-mak­ing team may not be as good this year. But we have a feel­ing they are go­ing to be stronger – the front five has real crunch and Sam Cane is de­vel­op­ing su­perbly as a leader and with McKen­zie at No 10, they could be sen­sa­tional.

WHERE WILL THEY FIN­ISH?

We like the way the Chiefs are set up and see the po­ten­tial. We re­ally do. There are in­ter­na­tional heavy­weights through­out the side, a smart coach­ing team and enough ex­pe­ri­ence to see them as cham­pi­ons.

But we don’t feel they are go­ing to find the last lit­tle piece of the jig­saw to go from so­close to cham­pi­ons.

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