Chiefs ready for full Hurricanes press

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Chiefs coach Warren Gatland said with big backs like Ben Lam and Ngani Laumape the Hurricanes were pretty direct in their approach while leaders like halfback TJ Perenara and hooker Dane Coles gave them direction.

 

"We're expecting a big battle. Something I didn't know about, but the coaches told me the last three times we put 50 points on the opposition we lost the next game so we've got to remember that.

 

"They'll be hurting from last week and we were hurting from two weeks ago. We're back at home and we get a chance to rectify that. I'm expecting one hell of an encounter. It's going to be a derby for both teams.

 

"For us, it's about continuity and momentum and trying to stay at the top of the Conference and in the top half of the top eight. For them, they don't want to slip too far behind," he said.

 

The Chiefs go into the encounter confident after their 51-14 win over the Waratahs at Wollongong last week.

 

Gatland said by halftime in their game he was happy with what they had done in the first half, including having a good start.

 

He was confident they would handle the second half as they have scored 125 second-half points in the competition and only conceded 25.

But the Hurricanes were now the focus in what he was expecting would be an arm wrestle.

 

"We're excited about being at home. We're disappointed with our last home performance," he said.

 

Gatland said some of the Chiefs game control had been excellent and when they had seized opportunities they had exploited them.

 

"We've got the quality, experience and excitement, particularly in that backline, to be able to do that," he said.

 

Both his halfbacks, Brad Weber and Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, were quick with a good passing game and they read the game well so there were good options at halfback.

 

Weber had seized the opportunity at the moment. His first try against the Waratahs developed from wing Sean Wainui's work to get over the advantage line while his second with a superb pass from wing Shaun Stevenson was something for which Gatland couldn't claim coaching credit.

 

"It's great to see players be able to do that in terms of the offload and Brad seeing and recognising the space. One of the things we do constantly is skills and gains getting players to recognise when you see space to try and do that so it is part of the training sessions that they normally enjoy when they're playing a bit of touch, or variations of touch rugby and being able to use their skills to the maximum."

 

Wainui, who played through an ankle injury against the Waratahs, was rested this week to recover before the side heads to South Africa. Solomon Alaimalo would move to the wing with Damian McKenzie returning at fullback.

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