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Chiefs refocus on Moana Pasifika after Crusaders loss

Chiefs refocus on Moana Pasifika after Crusaders loss

All BlacksApril 5, 2024

Losing to the Crusaders in DHL Super Rugby Pacific last weekend has sharpened the Chiefs' focus ahead of Saturday's game with Moana Pasifika in Hamilton.

Coach Clayton McMillan said the loss hurt.

"The reality is we were beaten to the punch by a pretty desperate team in lots of little areas.

"We need to show the same level of desperation. But there was also lots of positive stuff to come out of the game."

Looking to small areas where they need to make more significant shifts to improve would show that they have learned from their loss and are trending in the right direction.

He had confidence in the side, and while they still had to achieve a preferred degree of consistency, that hadn't detracted from the internal belief they could beat anyone in the competition.

The formula to achieve that was applying the fundamentals of the game.

"Set piece functioning, skill sets, not going into their shells and having the confidence to express themselves, but also make good decisions that ensure we're on the right side of turnover rates and penalty counts."

Moana Pasifika was a side that has shown more consistency under former All Black Tana Umaga's coaching.

"They've improved. That hasn't necessarily translated into more wins, but in games, for long periods, they are challenging some quality teams and scoring some good tries.

Couple 50s and a debut this weekend, we onnnn💥

Read More - https://t.co/6HFE3fHXlR
Tickets - https://t.co/RGnEFqG0ZW pic.twitter.com/mPTXeRuEc3

— Gallagher Chiefs (@ChiefsRugby) April 3, 2024

"They've got good athletes and they're clear around their identity and how they want to play. They're kicking a lot of goals and have the best percentages in the competition."

McMillan said the bye was important, and when they have theirs next weekend, they will have been training and playing for 14 consecutive weeks.

"And when you get into the business of the rugby season, a day off isn't really a day off. There's always some recovery, rehab, prehab, reviewing, previewing. A lot goes on in those days that players or coaches aren't in the office."

There was also a possibility that teams could lose momentum due to a bye.

"Over the last couple of years, we've seen it's been quite hard to come back [after a bye] and it's just as much of a mental thing as it is a physical thing."

Prop Ollie Norris will play his 50th game and said it would be a special moment.

He had no regrets moving to the front row from the loose forwards.

"If I was a loose forward, I'd be playing club rugby, so I'm in a dream position right now."

His debut game was against the Crusaders. He got onto the field in about the 60th minute and said it was almost a blackout from that point on, although he did share in a win.

He expected marking the occasion would be physical against Moana Pasifika.

"They're big athletes and really powerful. If we haven't worked on our stuff then they're going to punish us there. We want to make sure we stay focused and tackle low."

Success would be achieved by doing the basics well, having a good functioning set piece and general skill set.

"We can go 70 minutes with a good skill set and then have 10 minutes of a bad one. And that can be winning or losing of a game."

Fastest #SuperRugbyPacific try EVER! 🤯

History was made the last time they met. Will we witness another unforgettable moment when Moana Pasifika visit the Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday? pic.twitter.com/8f9IUcxpMS

— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) April 4, 2024

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