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Modern Super Rugby different, but threats remain

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Monday, April 2, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

After a break from previous experience with the Crusaders and Hurricanes, he returned to the Chiefs this year and he said there was a significant difference from those earlier days.

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There were so many cogs to team set-ups now, from staff, to players, to management, to replacement players, to relationships with New Zealand Rugby.

"It's got bigger, and it has changed. Derbies, playing each other twice never happened when I was there and that has put even more pressure on. [There's] Media pressure on coaches to perform, pressure on players," he said.

The players were under more pressure than 10 years ago.

It was a case of trusting the ability of players to cope.

That will be put to the test again this week when the Chiefs play the Blues for the second time this season, on this occasion at home in Hamilton on Saturday.

"They [the Blues] are always going to be dangerous and probably more dangerous. We've just got to make sure we get our structure right and how we play the game and be really aware defensively of their threats because they've got so many X factor players right through that group.

"We understand that and we need to make sure we are putting pressure on their delivery of their ball and make sure we make our tackles," he said.



From watching the way the Sharks approached their 63-40 win over the Blues at the weekend, Cooper said they appeared to have gone 'direct and pretty physical' and there were lessons for the Chiefs in that.

Cooper wasn't reading too much into the Blues loss because he said if they turned up on the night they would beat most teams.

"We've just got to make sure we've got our game, got our defence right and make sure we've getting our set-piece and the delivery of our ball right for our attack and make sure we're putting a lot of pressure on theirs," he said.

It wasn't yet certain that fullback Charlie Ngatai would make a start against the Blues after being reintroduced as a substitute on Friday. His influence had been massive when he came on, Cooper said, but he was still being managed and a decision would be made later in the week.

Because of the work load the starting props Aidan Ross and Angus Ta'avao had with the side Cooper said they were looking to try and manage their workloads in coming weeks.