The Chiefs went into lockdown having been beaten by the Hurricanes 27-24, thanks to a Jordie Barrett penalty kick in the 84th minute. That loss didn’t sit well with the team over the break and they are out to seek revenge.
But both sides are also now in must-win territory in Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa, both without a win and desperate for victory.
Chiefs assistant coach Tabai Matson knows it’s a crunch match and his side are up for it at FMG Stadium Waikato.
“Someone said you can measure success from going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm and I feel like there’s a lot of enthusiasm every week to prepare. To be fair, we delivered our best performance against the Crusaders, so to be pipped and beaten is always demoralising. But to roll in on Monday and get back to work again knowing there is still another five games to go has been the real focus.”
Matson had plenty of praise for skipper Sam Cane who made his debut in the new competition against the Crusaders last weekend. And while it wasn’t in a winning performance, he certainly made an impact.
“I think guys like him are in a small few, he’s a talisman so it’s actually not what he delivers in the game, it’s the impact he has on the three people standing either side of him.
“Every time he stands on the field with us, the young guys grow an arm and a leg. He’s delivering well, he’s not match fit yet, but it’s actually the impact he has on the guys around him.”
The Hurricanes lost their two opening games, before last week’s bye. Matson acknowledged that they’ll be fresh and motivated, but his side also have everything to play for.
“All the derbies over the last few years have been tough for us, but to bounce back from a three game losing streak into the Hurricanes just shows how awesome this competition is. They get a week off and probably have been scheming, but for us the boys are not only vigilant, but really furious about delivering a good performance at home that we haven’t done for a while.”
Lachlan Boshier has been another work horse for the Chiefs in both this competition and the one pre Covid, Matson would love to see their punishing flanker make the North side for the North v South fixture on August 29.
“I think often when you don’t see him or the commentators talking about him you might feel like he’s had a quiet game, but he is one of the most industrious and physical and busy players. Technically he’s one of our most effective players, so here we are one-eyed I suppose, but we definitely hope to see him at higher levels, he’s been unbelievable for us.”
The Chiefs host the Hurricanes at FMG Stadium Waikato in their first afternoon game of the season at 3:35pm. They have a special ‘Footy for the Family’ deal - $40 for four seats (2 Adults and 2 Kids) in select Fan Zone bays and Family Uncovered Zone. Get your tickets HERE.