Chiefs happy to go in as underdogs against Highlanders riding high

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While happy to accept the underdog role as the result of the Highlanders 33-12 win over the Crusaders last week, coach Clayton McMillan said it would be an 80-minute challenge because of the amount of variation the Highlanders employed.


"They don't go away, they keep fighting. They are a resilient team, and we've seen that, under adversity, resilience has come to the fore, so they'll be tough to beat.


"But we've made some progress in our own game over the last few weeks so we go down there confident," he said.


The competition was at an important stage, and McMillan said this weekend's games would have a significant impact as sides race to make the final.


McMillan said openside flanker Lachlan Boshier was good to go and will play club rugby in Taranaki at the weekend, but playing under the roof in Dunedin was thought to be a step too far on his return.


"It would have been a tough ask to go out there without any minutes under his belt since 30 minutes pre-season," he said.


Kaylum Boshier has been given his first start in the role, although McMillan admitted he wasn't a traditional flanker and was more of a No8.


"We feel he can do a job for us there," McMillan said.



"He's got a big work rate, he's really accurate in his tackle, he's a great lineout option. So, he actually complements the other two blokes [Luke Jacobson and Mitchell Brown] there, gives us a well-rounded loose forward trio, and his job can be made a hell of a lot easier by the other 14 blokes doing a pretty good job, too," he said.


McMillan also threw out a challenge for Boshier senior, saying it was the Chiefs' selection policy that if a player did well then he should be given another chance.


If that happened, Lachlan Boshier would have to force his way in from the bench or by some other means.


The process also reflected McMillan's belief in having cohesion in the side. That was possible with Jacobson and Brown having played well in recent rounds.


No decision had been made on whether to appoint a co-captain with halfback Brad Weber.


"We're having some discussions around that. It's not something we want to rush into. We don't want to put any undue pressure on any of the players to have that title.


"It is a big role, hence the reason why we've always had two," he said.


McMillan did say No8 Luke Jacobson was the clear option as he was the person who had filled that role when Sam Cane or Weber had been off the field previously.



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