Gatland excited by Chiefs younger players

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The game would allow the Chiefs to address areas where they need to improve after their 24-21 win over the competition-leading Crusaders in Christchurch.


Chiefs' head of rugby Warren Gatland said that was important because a win over the Crusaders only ensured their next meeting would have even more edge.


Saturday's game with the competition newcomers at Mt Smart Stadium was an important step to find improvements.


Gatland said while the Chiefs had been hit by Covid, like the other teams, they were confident they could field a competitive team at the weekend.


While it had been good for their experienced players to win in Christchurch, having gone six seasons without success, the 15 players on the field who finished the game included some younger of their younger players, and that was exciting for the Chiefs' future, he said.

"We still think we're growing and developing. We've done that over the last couple of years. Hopefully, we can continue to improve and get some more wins like that.


"It's a big confidence booster for the side. There were times when we were under pressure when they kept the ball and Braydon Ennor's try was a good example of that," he said.


But the Chiefs were patient, and although down 10-21 heading into the last 10 minutes, they retained the ball and applied their pressure, at a time when the Crusaders usually got over opponents.


Gatland said during their run of losses in Super Rugby Aotearoa in 2020, it was decided to concentrate on developing younger players.


"The good thing about this squad at the moment is that the younger players, who haven't been involved, have put some real heat and pressure on the starting team during trainings. We're really happy with how competitive the training sessions which gives us a huge amount of confidence in the depth of the squad," he said.


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