Different game plan expected from Chiefs in Sky Super Rugby Trans-Tasman

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That should be apparent when they open against the Force in Perth on Saturday.


Assistant coach Roger Randle said they could kick for the sideline more than they had during Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa, and they could look to apply more pressure with the ball in hand.


With that in mind, Damian McKenzie has returned to first five-eighths for the Perth encounter. Chase Tiatia is at fullback and Shaun Stevenson and Jonah Lowe will play on the wings with Bryn Gatland cover for McKenzie on the bench.


The Chiefs, beaten finalists in the New Zealand leg of Super Rugby, are aware that bonus points could be crucial in deciding who will contest the final.


It was also a case of needing to win every game to qualify, so they were keen to put their attacking abilities to work to score tries, and plenty of them. That should see a reduction in the number of penalty goals taken compared to the New Zealand competition.


"We were happy to take threes this year when we get those opportunities with the games so close.



"And, if you've seen the trends with a lot of the New Zealand teams, everyone started doing that as well towards the end. It would be nice to cross the line a few more times. For us, it's still, ultimately, about trying to get a win first."


But, with the Chiefs scoring the least number of tries in the Aotearoa competition, he said, it would be nice to score more tries.


They wanted to cash in on their ability to make clean breaks where they ranked second to the Crusaders and on being first on their ability to beat defenders.


"So we're creating the opportunities, which excites us, but finishing off is something we've talked about," he said. There had been improvements during the latter part of the season, but they needed more to cash in on their opportunities created.


The New Zealand competition had been about getting wins, and often penalty goals were the way to achieve that, but bonus points would be important in the trans-Tasman version, he said.


However, the emphasis would be on getting their 'bread-and-butter' work up to requirement, especially at the lineout, before they looked to resort to some of the unorthodox play that Randle was keen to implement.




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