Chiefs set sights on Brumbies' drive

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Achieving the means to contain the power of the Brumbies forward drive, especially near the goal-line, has been occupying the Chiefs' preparations for their Investec Super Rugby game in Hamilton on Saturday.


The Chiefs knew they could expect a tough battle up front, especially with the Brumbies' fondness for the driving lineout maul. But by getting some parity, or dominance, in that area they hoped to be able to give their backs to take their opportunities on attack.


Assistant coach David Hill said: "We've got a few little plays up our sleeve we hope to pull out so [we hope for] as many [opportunities] as possible," he said.


That also involved having the chance to play their game whether that was at tempo or not.


Slow starts remained a concern for the side while the ever-present quest for consistency was occupying them in their preparation.


Hill's role in the side involves working with the inside backs and also on attacking and exit strategies.


Having former All Black Aaron Cruden in the group was a boost, especially for his ability, and willingness, to communicate with the young players in the squad.


"The faster we can get these guys to accelerate their learning and play and be around players like him…but we've got not just him but other experienced guys in the backline – Anton [Lienert-Brown] and Brad [Weber] and even guys like Sam McNicholl. We've got guys with some good rugby brains in there so it's just a matter of using everything we've got basically," he said.


Hill said his situation in the coaching sphere was somewhat unique because he played under head coach Warren Gatland 13 years ago when 2006 had been a good year for Waikato in the ITM Cup.


"Myself and Roger [Randle] are two who can compare him with a while ago. He hasn't changed too much. He's very direct and knows what he wants and comes with a lot of experience so there isn't too much he hasn't seen or hasn't been through. It's awesome for all coaches to have someone like him," he said.


He had noticed differences from his playing exposure to that now from a coaching perspective.


"The subtle changes are the first time he came back he'd been overseas for four or five years and was just getting his handle on New Zealand rugby.


"This time he's been away even longer so he's probably more open to how New Zealand rugby have been doing things. I wouldn't want to put words in his mouth but he's very open to ideas and good to have discussions around and ultimately we come to decisions together. But it's his ship and we roll with that.


"He's brilliant at giving us training time and if you watch him out here he's across everything, he'll let us coach and at the end of it we'll have good discussions around it so it's really good for us as younger coaches to get our time on the grass and having him oversee us," Hill said.


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