Super Rennie breaks new ground

Sat, 04 Aug 2012 14:49
Large plumtree   rennie 630

Dave Rennie became the first rookie coach to win a Super Rugby title when he guided the Chiefs to a 37-6 win over the Sharks in Saturday's Super Rugby Final.

Dave Rennie became the first rookie coach to win a Super Rugby title when he guided the Chiefs to a 37-6 win over the Sharks in Saturday's Super Rugby Final.

Rennie joined the Chiefs' this season, taking over from Ian Foster at New Zealand's most under-achieving franchise.

With some judicious recruitment - notably All Blacks flyhalf Aaron Cruden and star centre Sonny Bill Williams - along with the help of World Cup-winning New Zealand assistant coach Wayne Smith, Rennie led the Chiefs to their first Super Rugby championship in only their second final.

He previously coached Manawatu province and the New Zealand Under-20 team which won the Junior World Championships. He also coached Wellington, as did New Zealand-born Sharks coach John Plumtree.

Based in Hamilton, New Zealand's fifth-largest city, the Chiefs are the smallest of its five Super Rugby franchises and until this year, the most under-achieving of the New Zealand sides.

In 17 years they had reached a final only once before, in 2009 when they were beaten 61-17 by the Pretoria-based Bulls - the largest defeat in a final in the tournament's history.

Rennie reshaped the team this season, tailoring a game plan to its obvious strengths and, most importantly, imbuing his players with the level of confidence that Chiefs teams of the past had rarely displayed.

Under his leadership, the Chiefs won 12 of their 16 regular season matches and finished top of the New Zealand Conference, heading off the seven-time champion Crusaders.

They won one and lost one match against the Crusaders during the longest regular season in tournament history but won the all-important clash in the semi-finals 20-17.

Rennie, with the help of forwards coach Tom Coventry, built a strong and efficient forward pack around underrated players such as lock and captain Craig Clarke, Samoan internationals Mahonri Schwalger and Kane Thompson, and All Blacks back rowers Tanerau Latimer and Liam Messam.

He also discovered a star in Tongan loosehead prop Sona Taumalolo, who was the team's leading try-scorer with nine five-pointers.

With help from Rennie, flanker Sam Cane and lock Brodie Retallick became All Blacks for the first time this year.

Cruden became the fulcrum of a dangerous backline which maximized the line-breaking abilities of Sonny Bill Williams and which had slick finishers at fullback and on the wings.

The Chiefs were able to sustain an unprecedented level of performance throughout the season, securing a home final when the Sharks upset the top-ranked Stormers, and going on to become only the sixth team to win a Super Rugby title.

Rennie typically deflected all credit for that achievement onto his players.

"The culture's been great," he said. "You saw the boys doing a haka (Maori challenge). They've been a really tight group and enjoy each other's company and they've worked hard for each other and been there as a team for each other."

SAPA

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 23 September 2017
Sharks v Blue Bulls 13h00 Durban
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Saracens v Sale Sharks 14h00 Allianz Park
Bath v Newcastle Falcons 14h00 Recreation Ground
Connacht v Cardiff Blues 14h15 Sportsground
Western Province v Griquas 15h15 Newlands
Kings v Zebre 17h35 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Scarlets v Edinburgh 18h35 Parc y Scarlets
Sun, 24 September 2017
London Irish v Northampton Saints 13h00 Madejski Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Wasps 14h00 Sandy Park
Fri, 29 September 2017
Sharks v Golden Lions 17h00 Durban
Newcastle Falcons v London Irish 18h35 Kingston Park
Worcester Warriors v Saracens 18h35 Sixways
Sale Sharks v Gloucester 19h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Glasgow Warriors v Treviso 19h35 Scotstoun Stadium
Leinster v Edinburgh 19h35 RDS Arena
Scarlets v Connacht 19h35 Parc y Scarlets
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28