Chiefs still seek precision
A feeling of relief was overshadowed by frustration for Chiefs coach Dave Rennie as his side almost let another match slip from their fingers.
In this instance, it was the sinbinning of Force prop Michael Longbottom that looked to have given the Chiefs their third consecutive victory and their second straight win over Australian opposition.
However, an inability to secure points when close to the Force line almost backfired when first five-eighths Sias Ebersohn lined up a 50metre penalty attempt to steal the win with less than three minutes left on the clock.
His attempt was well short and the Chiefs survived, but only just.
While understandably relieved, Rennie admitted he and his assistant coaches spoke about what was going wrong for the defending champions and their inability to close out matches.
"We sort-of got in the situation where we should have closed that out comfortably, but didn't," said Rennie, who added making the right on-field decisions was one of the things that needed improving.
"We had opportunities to put them in the corner and strangle them down there, but we then we go through multiple phases."
Add to the fact the side is missing a number of key midfielders and it's easy to see why the defending champions aren't just struggling for cohesion – they're often struggling with confidence.
"We're missing a bit of personnel and the guys we've got on the track are fighting hard – we'll take one-point wins on days like that."
One area of improvement that Rennie noted was in defence. The side whose defensive efforts almost cost them twice in the past two matches was up to the task. There were the occasional hiccups, including two that resulted in tries to Force winger Patrick Dillet.
"I think the intent was good. I thought the pack went pretty well, there was lots of defending in tight, the set piece was pretty strong."
Rennie also acknowledged the performance of Save Tokula, whose last cap was when the Chiefs were humiliated by the Reds in their final match of the 2011 season.
"It's a test out there for them but it is what it is - guys have to turn up to front."