Tough selection decisions to make for Chiefs ahead of final showdown

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Playing at home, the Chiefs showed how much they had recovered from the depths of 11 consecutive Super Rugby losses when beating the Crusaders 26-25. But assistant coach Neil Barnes said that result was history, and they would have to start all over again in Christchurch.


"All the other games give you is the confidence that they're beatable. They're a formidable team when it comes to finals. We know that, so we respect that.


"But, by the same token, we've worked really hard to give ourselves a chance, and we'll be going down there to put our best foot forward and we won't die wondering," he said.


He acknowledged there were facets in their approach that worked well in their earlier win that the Chiefs felt they could take further.


However, so far as using that game as motivation was concerned, he said it was history, it was 80 minutes worth, but they needed to forget about that and start again.



"You've got to match them in their set-piece. They get a fair bit of leverage from it, so we'll put a fair bit of effort into that. But, at the end of the day, you've got to play your own game as well.


"If you spend too much time worrying about them, you forget what you're doing, so we've got a game plan, we're going to go down there and pull the trigger and give it a go, and we'll see what happens," he said.


Barnes said the Crusaders had a lot of variety in their game, and teams couldn't just look to hit them in one area.


Last week's use of a less experienced team in the dead rubber game against the Blues had the desired effect in giving players a chance to push their selection hopes in the final.


The selection meeting to choose Saturday's side had reflected that.


Compounding the situation was the return to consideration from concussions for No8 Luke Jacobson and fullback Chase Tiatia.


"It would be, honestly, the most challenging selection I think I've ever been involved with, and I've been here six years," he said.


"Trust me, it was full on. So it was good, they are good issues to have. Those young players challenged awesomely well. Two or three of them, man, it was hard not to put them in the side."



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