Chiefs look to rumble on against the Reds

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Their situation is compounded by having to play seven weeks without a break. That was the result of playing the Super Rugby Aotearoa final while the other New Zealand teams rested. They also face two of their next three games in Australia.

 

On top of that, they have injury worries with prop Angus Ta'avao and utility outside back Sean Wainui of immediate concern.

 

Coach Clayton McMillan said, "That's why [beating the Brumbies] was important. The Brumbies have been on the road, and that's difficult.

 

"The last two weeks have proven that, and every other team that has travelled away haven't had it all their own way," he said.

 

While they got the win, and it was an improvement on the opening round, there were still areas for improvement.

 

McMillan said, "I reckon we fell into the trap last week of watching everyone play before us. Then, when we got our opportunity and got things relatively easy in the first 10 minutes, we got loose, inaccurate – turnovers and penalties, and cards came as a result of that.

 

"What we learned was that you just have to focus on the next job. Try and get the win first and worry about bonus points and winning margins later," he said.

 

"You have to respect the Aussie teams. They've proven they're no pushovers, even though the New Zealand teams have continued to clock up the wins.

 

"They look like they're getting better, and they're going to be particularly hard to beat at home."

 

Managing player minutes will be important across the last three weeks.

 

 

"We have to take stock of the injuries, who we have on deck, who can we anticipate coming back on board to help us scratch through the next few weeks.

 

"I'm starting to see guys now like Brad [Weber] and Damian [McKenzie] – they're energiser bunnies but, sometimes in that last 20 minutes – and I know it was a free-flowing game, and the ball was in play for long periods of time – but, it did look, at times, like we were running in quicksand," he said.

 

That would mean keeping an eye on the performance levels of their high-end performers.

 

Tupou Vaa'i will be one concern ahead of the Reds game after suffering a poke in an eye that blinded him in the minutes before he was subbed.

 

"I don't think that'll be something that's going to keep him out for a long time," he said.

 

"It's going to be hard again. Our week's going to change from what we normally do, because of the travel.

 

"But, more importantly, we probably just need to take stock of the injuries, who have we actually got on deck, who can we anticipate coming back on board to help us sort of scratch through the next three weeks," he said.

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