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"We're Not Daunted": Chiefs Stake Their Claim Ahead of Final

"We're Not Daunted": Chiefs Stake Their Claim Ahead of Final

All BlacksJune 21, 2024

Playing consecutive finals, the Chiefs want to show they've learned the lessons from last year's loss when taking on the Blues in the DHL Super Rugby Pacific final at Eden Park on Saturday.

The Crusaders beat the Chiefs 25-20 in last year's final, and Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan said, "We go up there with a mindset that the title is there for the taking, and the Blues will need to bring their best because we will."

McMillan said the Chiefs had no fear of going to Eden Park. While they haven't been as successful in recent seasons at the ground, he was happy with how they played in their regular season game two weeks before the playoffs.

"We didn't have our strongest team out there, but there were still elements I came away pretty happy from the game.

"They've [the Blues] have done well at home. That gives them a lot of confidence, and they'll have a lot of hometown support. We fully understand what we're walking into, but we're not daunted by it.

"We're both at the start line with zero points on the board. We'll see what happens at the end of 80 minutes."

The side has prepared well for the game, and McMillan feels they have timed their run well.

"We'll go out and put our best foot forward and if we do that, then we're a strong chance of knocking the Blues over."

#SuperRugbyPacific titles in 2012 and 2013 for @ChiefsRugby.

Back-to-back Hakas to celebrate 😤 pic.twitter.com/LreB2EX47K

— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) June 20, 2024

A revisit to the disappointments of their loss in last season's final was not necessary for the Chiefs.

They knew where they went wrong.

"It came down to small moments. Some decisions were made that were difficult. We had a few opportunities where we got across the line that may have been the difference, but they got pulled back.

"Finals often come down to those moments, one try, a penalty, a conversion, a missed tackle, a lost set piece. All of those little things add up to big things in finals."

Centre Anton Lienert-Brown said McMillan's impact on the Chiefs had been massive.

"When he took over we were in the trenches, were on a losing streak and we needed someone like him to come in and steer the ship. His leadership is second to none. The most important thing is he puts people first. By doing that people want to follow him and you see that in our results."

McMillan said hooker Tyrone Thompson, who has been called in after injuries ruled out Samisoni Taukei'aho and Brad Slater, had been a regular in their 23 last year but had suffered issues with a niggly ankle this year and had been in and out of the team.

"But he's had a really good run over the last six weeks. He's ready to go and we're not going to skip a beat with Tyrone. He's a competitor and plays a lot like Samisoni. We don't feel disadvantaged at all."

Lienert-Brown said they had experience from their final loss to the Crusaders last year to call on in their preparation. It was essential to treat the game like any other week.

"As soon as you start trying to do anything more, anything special, that's when you can go off track. It's hard not to think about it, we're hugely excited but as much as we can we are soaking it up."

Win or go home part ||| pic.twitter.com/gCzUF6SCUV

— Gallagher Chiefs (@ChiefsRugby) June 19, 2024

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