Chiefs need to back-up starting boost

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Achieving a better start once was not something the Chiefs could bask in as they prepared to play the Hurricanes in their Investec Super Rugby game in Hamilton on Friday.

 

They had finally managed that in 2020 when beating the Waratahs 51-14 in Wollongong last week.

 

Halfback Brad Weber (pictured) said they had to back that up, especially against a team like the Hurricanes.

 

"We know when we come off a loss we come out firing as you saw against the Waratahs [a 51-14 win] and no doubt they'll be doing the same so we really need to flick the switch come kick-off time," he said.

 

"It's incredibly important to get out to a quick start so we can pile on the points and put pressure on other teams to keep winning games. We're trying to win everything, especially against other New Zealand Conference teams, it's almost worth double points," he said.

Weber said he wasn't driven by a goal towards achieving All Blacks selection, rather he was working to do everything he could to help the Chiefs achieve their goals.

 

That didn't stop him wanting to improve with every outing.

 

"I'm only controlling what I can control which is how I prepare each week and how I try and better as a player myself, and that's exactly what I'm sticking to all season," he said.

But playing the Hurricanes meant he would be lining up against friend and fellow All Black TJ Perenara.

 

"I always enjoy going up against TJ, we've had good battles in the past. He's big and his defence is unbelievable, you saw some of the shots he put on against the Blues last week – things I could only dream of, being a 75kg man. But I've got my own little ways I get around the field too.

 

"The battles with the Hurricanes over the years have been great, and certainly one I relish," he said.

 

Among the opponents will also be a former Hawke's Bay teammate, flanker Devan Flanders.

 

He was a player Weber felt had shown from his first appearances for the Magpies was capable of a fine future.

 

"Especially out of school, he was a man-child, he could do things that other 18-year-olds couldn't do and sure enough, he's brought it up to the Super Rugby game as well," he said.

 

Weber said he was enjoying his rugby at the moment and that was reflected in the delight he showed in his two-try effort against the Waratahs.

 

In the lead-up to his dazzling second try, he was aware of what Shaun Stevenson was capable of and he read his flip pass correctly.

 

"His flip pass was right on the money, I couldn't believe it," he said.

 

Weber said the notion of playing what was in front of them had been a Chiefs' mantra as long as he had been involved.

 

"If you see an opportunity in front of you, you take it," he said.

 

The Hurricanes were a side with their own 'razzle-dazzle' and firepower and would stick to what they were good at because it had been successful for them in the past," he said.

 

Weber said he had extended his contract with the Chiefs and New Zealand until the end of 2021.

 

"An offer was 100 percent there, and it took a fair bit of thinking to stick around. But I didn't want to leave when I was playing my best rugby, I felt like I would regret that," he said.

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