Chiefs not panicking after Reds loss
Losing 22-25 to the Reds may have been a surprise, but earlier success meant the Chiefs still have a buffer at the top of the DHL Super Rugby Pacific competition heading into their last three regular season games.
Coach Clayton McMillan saw the side's unbeaten run end in New Plymouth but said their winning streak was not something they felt pressure from.
But the loss would create a different sort of pressure.
"It brings us a little bit closer to the pack. So, that might be a good thing too.
"We were disappointed to lose, but we've got to give credit to the Reds, who played with a desperation that we didn't quite match. Having said that, I didn't think any of our players played poorly. We were just half a second behind in a lot of areas, and that was the difference.
McMillan wasn't panicking after the loss. There was still plenty of growth left in their game.
"We're in a pretty good spot. There were a number of senior guys who didn't play…but there was also massive growth for the guys that were out there in a pretty tense game, and they'll be better for that in the long run."
However, some errors were uncharacteristic from players, first five-eighths Damian McKenzie and wings Etene Nanai-Seturo and Shaun Stevenson, who have contributed to the side's run of form.
"A lot of those passes have been going to hand over the last 10-12 weeks, and tonight that didn't quite happen. So you're going to get that in rugby games.
"The Reds applied some good defensive pressure, and forced passes at times. They didn't allow us to play the game we wanted for large periods."
While it would have been disappointing for New Plymouth fans who watched their first game of Super Rugby at home since 2018, he said they would have appreciated the spectacle in the first-class conditions.
They lost first five-eighths Bryn Gatland to a torn bicep before the game. He will be out for the remainder of the season. However, as the Chiefs chased the win in the latter stages of the game, replacement Josh Ioane showed there would be no loss of ability in their ranks as they host the Hurricanes in Hamilton and finish with games away against the Brumbies and Force.
Things are heating up 🔥— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) May 14, 2023
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