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Quest for improvement never ends for the Chiefs

Quest for improvement never ends for the Chiefs

All BlacksMay 14, 2024

Comfortable as their 43-7 DHL Super Rugby Pacific win over Moana Pasifika was, the Chiefs are still looking for improvements.

While the Chiefs were 'clunky' in the first half, coach Clayton McMillan said they made some inroads into some aspects of their game they have been working on.

"Moana didn't make life easy for us and tackled their hearts out. They were combative around the collision area. It's just a case of sticking in the game and wearing them down. We managed to do that in the end, but it wasn't easy."

In the first half, they were guilty of expecting things to happen without doing the required work. They tried to go wide before earning that right.

McMillan said that comparing 2024 with last year, when they were heading the competition, he felt they were timing their run nicely as the chaser instead of being chased.

"Last year seems a long time ago now and it was interesting hearing when the Hurricanes lost [their first game] that there was some internal pressure that builds when winning every week and it felt like a valve got released when losing and the team got to reset and refocus."

He said being the hunter rather than the hunted sat better with the Chiefs.

McMillan said that Josh Jacomb initially looked a little nervous at first five-eighths.

"It's only his second start, and when you're a 10 [first five-eighths], and we've seen this across the competition, it's not an easy position.

"Things happen fast around you, and if you're not out there week-in or week-out, adjusting takes a little bit. He warmed into the game and did some nice things.

"He's only going to get better and better. He's a great talent and time in the middle, and that's what moments like tonight are about, is to get him out there to get an understanding of what it's all about without loading it all on his shoulders with too much, too fast."

No8 Wallace Sititi was another to take another opportunity.

McMillan said, "He's exploded on the scene. He had to bide his time in our environment for five or six months and then got his opportunity and nailed it. He hasn't missed out on the match day 23 since then.

"He's a talented young man, got a mature head on his shoulders, comes from good stock and he's another young man who's going to get better. We've got to make sure that we look after him and make sure he stays grounded. You have to love the explosiveness in his game."

Captain Luke Jacobson said Moana Pasifika produced a hard physical battle through some big players they had.

"They fronted up, had some good tackles, some good carries, and dented us and made it hard for us to dent them.

"You always know leading up to Moana that they've got threats all over the part. If you don't do your job properly, they can offload and get some electric ball carriers who can hurt you if you don't get tackles right."

An epic Culture Round comes to a close!

Where does your team sit after the weekend?#SuperRugbyPacific pic.twitter.com/hg9UnKwaoY

— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) May 12, 2024

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