There’s still growth in our game - McMillan
Playing smarter rugby while playing to the edge of the law was something the Chiefs learned when suffering three yellow cards in a disjointed second half last week, so the Highlanders should be on notice ahead of their DHL Super Rugby Pacific game on Friday.
Coach Clayton McMillan said finding the balance between the two was crucial for the side if they were to succeed, but playing for 30 minutes last week against a side that lifted their game in the second half was a lesson.
"It's nice to get two wins from two to start off the season on a positive note but we're mindful there's plenty of growth in our game. We weren't perfect by a long stretch last week so we have to acknowledge it's a good start but keep getting better."
McMillan said having had a stop-start game last week meant they didn't have the ball-in-play figures associated with their first game. Both teams probably needed to come in with a similar attitude to the new laws to maximise the impact of the law changes.
He added that the Chiefs probably contributed to the stop-start play with the multiple changes they made in the second half, and they needed to tidy up the three yellow cards they suffered.
The faster play had a higher aerobic cost, and the Chiefs had taken a quieter approach to their training this week.
They also knew that margins were close in the competition, and no side could afford to take anyone lightly.
"The competition has shown that anyone can beat anyone on their day. From my experience, this group is starting to show a level of maturity around that. We've got a young squad that has been through some tough times and learnt lessons along the way, and understand that complacency does have the ability to creep in, but if you want to be at the business end of the season, you have to shut that out the door pretty quickly.
"Our leaders and our young guys have got a pretty good awareness around that now so that's a positive sign."
Wing Emoni Narawa was a player McMillan felt was looking the goods in pre-season play only to suffer an injury. But now he was ready to return, and he was looking forward to seeing him in action again.
Mid-field back Rameka Pohipi, who scored a nine-second try in last week's game against Moana Pasifika, was reaping the rewards for his patience. He had been around the group for two or three years, but with injuries to others providing him with a chance, he had been ready.
McMillan said he had always been a calm customer with exposure at Maori All Blacks and NPC level, who, for such a young player, had impressed with his leadership ability and was starting to match that with his playing performances.
The Chiefs take on the Highlanders in the opening game of round three at 7.05pm on Friday at FMG Stadium Waikato.