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The Chiefs deserve to be top of the log


Written by Gwyn Pratley (Hertford Highlander)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 21 Apr 2012 at 06:37
Tagged with : , , , , , , ,

As I sat scratching my head last night at the law interpretations of the man in the middle ruling one way then the other. I had an epiphany – The Chiefs deserve to be top of the log.

Why?

Well for starters they use the ball and don’t rely on an aging whistle blower to eventually see it their way and reward them a penalty for something few understand, let alone actually see.

‘Sealing it off’ Penalty! ‘Not supporting your body weight’ Penalty! ‘Squeeze Ball’ Penalty!

These are just some of the totally random calls that keep the players and spectators in a state of bemusement.

Last night Mike Delaney and Gareth Anscombe due to their specific skill set reduced the Highlanders versus Blues match to a penalty shoot-out. The crowd watched on as the Highlanders won a thriller but in all reality it should have been a 30-30 draw as arguably New Zealand’s best goal kicker Gareth Anscombe turned down a shot in front in a last ditched attempt for the Blues to win with time up on the dodgy local clock.

Tonight at the Shark-Tank fans should be warned that they will be abruptly woken from their Super 15 slumber if they have fallen into the trap as last night’s crowd had of cheering the referees whistle and not the play itself.

Be warned the Chiefs can seriously play, they don’t just play territory – but they can, they don’t just wined down the clock with boring forward orientated seal-off’s, that somehow become legal in the last 10 minutes of each half – but they can, they don’t just fall back on their set pieces to dominate or disrupt – but they can.

What they do is play rugby – yes an obvious statement but in this year’s SupeRugby competition a fact that has been seriously missing from most coaches and players approach to the game. Dave Rennie and the world’s best attack coach Wayne Smith have breathed new life into the once flaky Waikato based franchise.

The Chiefs from 1 to 22 play right across the park from all phases of the game – not just as team’s like the Stormers do when they receive turnover ball. Led by a Sonny Bill Williams off-loading ethos that created such a storm last year – the off-load has become a mantra for the Chiefs class of 2012. Tonight forget about Sonny Bill Williams being a threat or Richard Kahui or Lelia Masaga.

Why?

Because the perceived off-loading threat of SBW is just as likely to be evident from Brodie Retallick, Craig Clarke or Ben Tameifuna.

Rennie and his back-up team have once again wisely rotated some of the troops. Brilliant young flanker Sam Cane is back in the run on fifteen. The Samoan captain Mahonri Schwalger takes over at hooker to nullify the threat of the returning Bismarck Du Plessis and Asaeli Tikoirotuma starts on the left wing with Jackson Willison coming onto the bench.

Many of the Sharks faithful will arrive at the ground tonight in the hope of seeing players of the ilk of SBW light up Kings Park however, what they may leave with is an appreciation of the attacking prowess of an entire 22 man Chiefs squad.

Chiefs: Andrew Horrell, Lelia Masaga, Richard Kahui, Sonny Bill Williams, Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Aaron Cruden, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Alex Bradley, Same Cane, Liam Messam, Brodie Retallick, Craig Clarke, Ben Tameifuna, Mahonri Schwalger, Arizona Taumalolo. Reserves: Hika Elliott, Josh Hohneck, Michael Fitzgerald, Tanerau Latimer, Augustine Pulu, Jackson Willison, Robbie Robinson.



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