Chiefs suffer more blows ahead of Sunwolves

Getty Images

Monday, March 19, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Adding to the concerns is back utility Shaun Stevenson who has had knee surgery that will keep him out for at least a month.

Chiefs assistant coach Tabai Matson said it was a case of keeping calm and carrying on.

"For each of those individuals they are traumatic experiences and kind of season-changing but for us as a team we've just got to keep on doing our best," he said.

Matson said there had been two distinct halves to the Bulls game. Several things they had in place to counteract the line speed and some of their driving mauls they hadn't got right resulting in penalties and tries conceded.

"Full credit to the players, they responded really well at halftime, really clear and we came in and executed in the second half," he said.
When taking on the Sunwolves in Tokyo they were expecting that some of the style points that had marked coach Jamie Joseph's approach in the past were expected by the Chiefs.

"I think most coaches tend to go with the formula that has worked for them in the past so we're definitely going to get a few things that we've seen before in our Conference. I don't think there'll be any surprises, the only surprise we'll get is playing in Tokyo for some of these guys who haven't played there before and coming up against a team that we think is going to be ferocious on Saturday," he said.

Matson said any thoughts that the Sunwolves were anything less than a good side would be patronising. They were better than previous teams and were well organised.

"They're a really good team which is really well led and they will be up for the Chiefs coming up there on Saturday so we don't make any assumptions about them being a banana skin or any of that rubbish.
"We'll have to put a good performance in if we're going to get an outcome in Tokyo," he said.

Not getting ambushed by the Sunwolves was a priority, especially with a young side

The Chiefs had been good in contestable situations in the second half against the Bulls and there was a realisation that they needed to hold the ball.

"At times we looked unstoppable when we executed and were composed and so that'll be us and it will be how can we control the tempo and the ball to get the scoreboard ticking over," he said.

Circumstances are likely to see Damian McKenzie continue at fullback. Matson said the cavalry was two hills away and it would be a week or two before injured players were ready to be considered with Charlie Ngatai back running straight lines.

Management wanted to see McKenzie back at first five-eighths but it wasn't possible yet.

In the meantime they had been very happy with New Zealand Under-20 five-eighths Tiaan Falcon. He was the future of New Zealand rugby, Matson said and the way he had stepped in and done a good job was what was wanted from a young player.