Last week we summarised the Chiefs major problems in the article how NOT to beat a rush defence. They were kicking the ball away needlessly against the Crusaders and refusing to change their ways. During the Chiefs v Hurricanes match there was a noticeable difference in the way the Chiefs played, and you may find it hard to believe just how much they transformed in a week.
We have put together some highlights to show you how the Chiefs were so much better in this game, and how they could play for the rest of the competition.
Winning Scrums And Running It Straight | Chiefs v Hurricanes
The Chiefs got the simple things right against the Hurricanes. They begin by manipulating this scrum around to the right. This allows their no.8 Ardron to draw in TJ Perenara, creating a gap.
Once the break is made the ball is shifted wide. We know that Super Rugby teams are using lines like the ones below on their training pitches to encourage straight running. In this case, McKenzie runs a beautiful line to score.
Against the Crusaders, the Chiefs never really manufactured space like this. And the set piece that started it all is a promising sign for the future.
Speaking of promising signs for the future, there was one player in particular that would turn this game on its head.
The Impact of Anton Lienert-Brown | Chiefs v Hurricanes
Anton Lienert-Brown has really stood up for the Chiefs this season in some dire situations. He opened the scoring in this game with a miraculous charge-down, then collecting the ball to score. A spectacular solo effort.
In other parts of the game, ALB would gain turnovers and keep the ball alive for his team. below he does both with a brilliant offload.
And we haven’t even gotten to his defence yet, which was outstanding. This tackle on Dane Coles results in another turnover after he manages to strip the ball.
This stripping of the ball is a phenomenon creeping its way into Super Rugby, and if you would like to see some other patterns we’ve noticed click the link below.
Lienert-Brown is a gem for the Chiefs, and if they are to turn their season around he will be a crucial element of the resurgence. That resurgence isn’t too far fetched either. In fact, the chances have raised significantly after their game-management turned a corner.
A Switch In Philosophy | Chiefs v Hurricanes
The Chiefs game-management was all over the place in Christchurch as Damian McKenzie battled with his risk-taking nature. This matched showcased a complete U-turn as the Chiefs began to play safety-first Rugby.
The influence of Marty McKenzie at no.10 was felt as he put in clearances like this one to keep the Hurricanes at bay. A far better decision than the risky chips over the top from last week.
His brother would get in on the action as well, making a great decision here to turn the Hurricanes around. This is far better game management from the Chiefs.
The Chiefs were also determined not to let the score blow out on them again. The commitment to cover across as a unit was far more evident. It’s visible below from the start of the match.
This communication and teamwork was sorely lacking in Christchurch, and the Chiefs would show true passion to stop the Hurricanes scoring here. Look at how many Chiefs jerseys are in the shot below as Goosen finds some space.
This is the philosophy the Chiefs need to adopt moving forward. With some calm heads running the game and defensive commitment, they look like an entirely different team than the one that was demolished by the Crusaders.
Can the Chief salvage their season from here? Let us know your thoughts.
Author: The 1014 Rugby and Henry Stokes