Chiefs Look To Work On Three Key Areas

Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie will be putting his players to work after a bye this weekend, because he knows there is room for concern in key areas.

The Chiefs lost 26-13 to the Highlanders in front of the biggest rugby crowd seen in Hamilton for three years. While on the scoreboard the deficit was only 13-points, the game as a whole was dominated by the Highlanders.

“This highlights that Super Rugby is a tough competition, but we just made way too many errors”, Rennie said. Continue reading Chiefs Look To Work On Three Key Areas

McKenzie’s Enoyable Time At Chiefs Makes Decision To Stay Easier

It has been an eventful week for Damian McKenzie, but his decision to stay with the Chiefs is likely due to his comfort in the team environment.

In the eyes of some people, Damian McKenzie made a bad decision when he chose not to take up the offer made to him by the Blues.

But for the 21-year old, the decision to stay with the Chiefs could be because the “here and now” is not all there is to consider.

McKenzie is very small in size, and this is going to be commented on time and time again throughout his career. It is something that has never bothered Mckenzie himself, but with that says, the 21-year old knows it could  be a disadvantage in many matches, and there was no denying that in the weekends 26-13 loss to the Highlanders.

McKenzie had much ball in hand but struggled to do anything of note against the Highlanders, but he showed just as much bravery as ever.

But, the stats back it up, McKenzie has not slotted any points for the Chiefs since the clash against the Hurricanes two weeks ago. Continue reading McKenzie’s Enoyable Time At Chiefs Makes Decision To Stay Easier

22,000 Ready To Rock At FMG Stadium For Local Derby

Everyone loves a local New Zealand derby, and for the winner of the Chiefs vs Highlanders clash tonight, there is a big statement to make by doing so.

With three close losses so far this season, the Highlanders are yet to convince that they are capable of claiming back-to-back Super Rugby titles despite having arguably the strongest line up on paper to do so.

The return of Waisake Naholo will complete the Highlanders back line, and with the likes of Malakai Fekitoa, Ben Smith, and Patrick Osborne alongside, the backs have the power to steamroll their way through the Chiefs defense, but they can only do this with plenty of ball in hand.

Kicking possession to the Chiefs back three should result in the Chiefs getting good go forward.

The only way the Highlanders can win this game is to throw everything they have at the Chiefs with ball in hand, take risks, and kick the all important penalty goals that will come a plenty. Continue reading 22,000 Ready To Rock At FMG Stadium For Local Derby

Damian McKenzie Will Stay In Hamilton For Further 2 Years

The hottest property in New Zealand Rugby will stay with the Chiefs for another two years.

Damian McKenzie has signed on with the Chiefs for the 2017 and 2018 seasons, extending his contract with the club for another two years.

The 21-year old says that the environment and quality of the coaching staff was key in his decision to put pen to paper.

“The team environment is one of a kind and the wider organisation has been very helpful with my career so far”, McKenzie said.

McKenzie says he has a lot of respect for head coach Dave Rennie, and thanks to the help of assistant coach Andrew Strawbridge, McKenzie has taken his kicking game to another level in the past year. Continue reading Damian McKenzie Will Stay In Hamilton For Further 2 Years

Loss Of Kerr-Barlow No Big Deal For Chiefs

The loss of Tawera Kerr-Barlow is no big deal for the Chiefs, because the question of who starts in the halfback role shouldn’t be up for discussion.

Kerr-Barlow broke his hand in a ‘random incident’ during the Chiefs narrow 28-27 win over the Hurricanes.

Brad Weber, young in age but not in skill, has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the past two seasons in Super Rugby.

His leadership of the Mooloos in ITM Cup saw Weber grow in confidence, and when given a chance by Dave Rennie for the Chiefs, Weber took it with both hands and managed to secure himself a test match debut for the All Blacks against Samoa last July. Continue reading Loss Of Kerr-Barlow No Big Deal For Chiefs

Woodward Chokes To Hand Chiefs Ugly Win

The Chiefs have survived a late scare to beat the Hurricanes 28-27 after fullback Jason Woodward blew an opportunity to snatch victory for his side on the final play of the game.

It will be a moment that Woodward will never forget, his knock-on with a clear run to the try line was the difference between the Hurricanes winning and losing what was a back-and-fourth exchange between two of Super Rugby’s best sides so far in 2016.

“Five-year olds could have caught the ball that Woodward dropped”, one media commentator said immediately after the full time whistle.

The Hurricanes will rue not capitalising when the big moments came, but Jason Woodward, an experienced rugby player, simply choked when the winning opportunity came. Continue reading Woodward Chokes To Hand Chiefs Ugly Win

Chiefs Regular James Lowe To Miss Hurricanes Clash

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The Chiefs have named an experience squad, but have still sprung a couple of surprises ahead of their Saturday night clash against the Hurricanes.

Dave Rennie has chosen a forward pack with mixed experience for a clash against one of Super Rugby’s toughest packs.

In the locks, Michael Allardice replaces Dominic Bird who will be rested for another week after knocking his just-healed foot during the last game against the Blues, and loose forward Tom Sanders gets the nod over the impressive Taleni Seu.

It will be the most inexperienced wings combination that the Chiefs have fielded all season with Sam McNicol moving in to start on the left wing over regular starter James Lowe. Toni Pulu has also trumped Shaun Stevenson on the right wing to make his third start of the season

The Chiefs say that Lowe suffered an injury during training this week, but McNicol’s selection was one based on form.

A lingering knee infection has again ruled Anton Lienert-Brown out of the picture, but Charlie Ngatai has passed fitness tests to make the starting line up after an injury scare.

Andrew Horrell also returns, coming off a lengthy injury to take his place on the bench for what will be his 50th Super Rugby appearance.

The full Chiefs squad to take on the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday night at 7.35pm:

  1. Mitchell Graham (18)
  2. Rhys Marshall (29)
  3. Atu Moli (4)
  4. Michael Allardice (13)
  5. Brodie Retallick (62)
  6. Tom Sanders (5)
  7. Sam Cane (72) co-captain
  8. Michael Leitch (19)
  9. Brad Weber (31)
  10. Aaron Cruden (63) co-captain
  11. Sam McNicol (4)
  12. Charlie Ngatai (38)
  13. Seta Tamanivalu (13)
  14. Toni Pulu (2)
  15. Damian McKenzie (23)

Atu Moli Working On Getting Faster

Atu Moli is only 20-years old, but his resume is already mighty impressive.

Fresh out of high school, Moli captained the New Zealand U-20 side to World Cup glory in 2015.

The intensity of Super Rugby is above and beyond that of what Moli experienced with the New Zealand U-20 side, and his primary work on has been improving his speed around the field in order to keep up with the game.

“For me, I love physicality, but I am still trying to work on keeping up with the pace of it,” Moli said.

Weighing 127kg, Moli has power in the scrum and on defense, not missing a single tackle so far this season.

Moli has played four games for the Chiefs, but he says each one feels like a debut in itself.

“Every game feels like it is my first because of the atmosphere that goes around the dressing room”, Moli said.

Moli is in line for selection for the Chiefs clash against the Hurricanes this Saturday.

Chiefs Flanker Sam Henwood Suffers Bad Knee Injury

The news is bleak for Chiefs flanker Sam Henwood after the Chiefs confirm a severe knee injury.

During the Chiefs gritty 29-23 victory over the Blues, the youngster came off the bench. Shortly after, Henwood went down after a tackle and was escorted from the field.

Post match, Dave Rennie confirmed that Henwood had suffered a bad knee injury. No official announcement has been made yet, but The Real Michael Pulman understands that Henwood will undergo scans in the next couple of days.

Henwood was called into the Chiefs squad back in February while playing rugby over in Portugal.

Returning lock Dominic Bird was also on the injury list following the match.

McKenzie Breaks Century Record As Chiefs Thrash Brumbies

The Chiefs have broken a long losing-streak in Canberra dating back to 2008, punishing the Brumbies 58-23 tonight.

Dave Rennie’s men punished the Brumbies who went into the match as Super Rugby’s best defensive team, and closest-rivals to the Chiefs on the points table.

The Chiefs ran in six tries, including a double for James Lowe on the wing, and it was nothing short of punishing, a performance fitting of a team that deserves its place on top of the Super Rugby ladder.

Lowe’s two tries puts him into the top tier of players to dot over the line in 2016, but it was the wingers ability to kick into space and put the Chiefs deep into Brumbies territory that was equally as impressive. Continue reading McKenzie Breaks Century Record As Chiefs Thrash Brumbies