Chiefs to 'do justice' to top billing
Sun, 22 Jul 2012 16:17
We deserve to be where we are, they've worked bloody hard all year
The Chiefs are determined to prove they deserve their ranking as New Zealand's No.1 team.
Having regrouped after losing their final two regular season matches - against the Crusaders (21-28) and Hurricanes (25-28) - they will look to get revenge on the Crusaders in Hamilton on Friday.
They had already wrapped up the New Zealand conference before their heartbreaking loss to the Hurricanes.
However, that defeat allowed the Stormers to edge them to first place in the global standings, but still allowed them home ground advantage in the semifinals.
And now, refreshed after the weekend's by, they face a Crusaders team that has gained considerable momentum in recent weeks.
Chiefs assistant coach Wayne Smith is adamant his team is worthy of hosting a home semifinal.
Smith says he has loved being involved in what the Chiefs have achieved this season.
"It has been fantastic and I'm proud to be a part of it," Smith told Sunday News.
"We've got a young team and we've got a lot of guys who haven't played at this level before.
"They have shown a lot of spirit and we deserve to be where we are, they've worked bloody hard all year.
"We deserved to have a home semifinal and now we've got to do it justice. We've earned respect but you can lose that quickly and we've got to do this justice, we've got to rise to the occasion."
Smith refutes the theory that the Chiefs have lost their momentum because of the losses and those defeats won't count for anything when the players take to the field next weekend.
"I am not a big believer in momentum because every game is its own entity," he said.
"You've just got to prepare for every game like it's the last one and play the best you can.
"We didn't play that well against the Hurricanes but still could have won against a team that was desperate to win.
"So the week off is good for us, we needed a bit of freshening up and work on some of our small unit skills, get our cleanout and presentation of the ball a bit better.
"The Hurricanes scored a couple of tries from our possession and that's not good enough. We need to fix things up and give it everything in the semi."
Smith also felt that it wasn't fair to say the team had taken a backward step since the resumption of the season after the break for the June tests.
"It is hard to say; we played really well against the Highlanders, which was a game we needed to win to put us where we are," he said.
"Against the Crusaders we played bloody well apart from not winning any set-piece ball.
"But we played with real heart and character. It was disappointing against the Hurricanes and I don't think we played as well, but we'll put that right."
Source: Fairfax NZ News
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