Chiefs credit culture for Super title

Sun, 05 Aug 2012 10:37
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The jubilant Chiefs sense they are on the verge of something special after claiming their breakthrough Super Rugby title.

The jubilant Chiefs sense they are on the verge of something special after claiming their breakthrough Super Rugby title with a 37-6 trouncing of the Sharks at the weekend.

The team of relatively unknowns sidestepped talk of a "dynasty" but they did credit the culture that has developed in the side, similar to the way the Crusaders were described when they claimed seven titles in 11 years.

Against the Sharks, the Chiefs recovered from a slow start to lead 13-3 at half-time and pile on a further 24 points in a stunning second spell display while claiming the try count 4-0.

The victory put them into an elite group of Super Rugby champions joining the Crusaders (seven titles), Bulls (three), Blues (three), Brumbies (two), and Reds (one). That does not take into account the two wins by Queensland (now the Reds) and one by Transvaal (now the Lions) before the game went professional in 1996.

It also capped a remarkable season for a team that began with a new coach and only a handful of name players yet developed to beat the best in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, the world's top three ranked countries.

Coach Dave Rennie, the architect of their rapid development, deflected credit saying the praise should go to the players.

"I'm really rapt for the boys, they've been a fantastic group to work with and deserve all the success they've got," he said reflecting on a remarkable season.

"The culture has been fantastic. They are a very tight group and enjoy each other's company and they've worked hard for each other.

"We targeted guys we thought would work hard for us and were willing to do a bit of graft, hit rucks and so on. We picked guys who probably weren't as heralded as others in the competition.

"But they've really stood up and we've got some great young kids and we've got some established players who went to another level this year and the leadership within the group was fantastic and that made a big difference."

Former All Blacks coach and tactical specialist Wayne Smith, who turned down a tempting offer to join the England coaching staff to be Rennie's assistant at the Chiefs won't talk of a dynasty but sees the team as something special.

"The team has played bloody well and with real spirit and character, but there is a lot of water to go under this bridge yet," Smith, who also coached the Crusaders to Super titles in 1997 and 1999, told the Sunday News.

"As soon as you start thinking of dynasties and things like that, that's when you topple over."

But Smith believes the Chiefs are at the beginning of something special "that we can really improve and there is no reason we can't become world class.

"From my experience, if you want to set up a successful number of years, then that's what you've got to do. You've got to be bloody good right across the board, not just on the field."

Their ability to bag the Super rugby crown without a galaxy of stars was reflected in the All Blacks squad named Sunday for the upcoming Rugby Championship series against Australia, South Africa and Argentina.

It contained only four Chiefs - Liam Messam, Aaron Cruden, Sam Cane and Brodie Retallick - although Sonny Bill Williams is likely to be added for two matches.

The Crusaders, beaten in two out of their three clashes with the Chiefs during the year, provide nine All Blacks, the Otago Highlanders six, the Auckland Blues five and Wellington Hurricanes four.

AFP

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 25 February 2017
Saracens v Sale Sharks 12h45 Allianz Park
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Franklin's Gardens
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons 13h00 Sandy Park
Cheetahs v Lions 13h05 Bloemfontein
Scotland v Wales 14h25 BT Murrayfield
Kings v Jaguares 15h15 Port Elizabeth
Ireland v France 16h50 Aviva Stadium
Stormers v Bulls 17h30 Cape Town
Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
Mon, 27 February 2017
UCT-Ikeys v Maties 14h45 Cape Town
CPUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Cape Town
UP-Tuks v Wits 16h30 Pretoria
UWC v TUT 16h30 Cape Town
CUT-Ixias v UJ 16h30 Bloemfontein
Rhodes v Fort Hare 16h30 Grahamstown
Shimlas v NWU-Pukke 17h00 Bloemfontein
Thu, 02 March 2017
Force v Reds 10h30 Perth
Fri, 03 March 2017
Chiefs v Blues 06h35 Hamilton
Connacht v Zebre 19h35 Ascoli Piceno
Edinburgh v Ospreys 19h35 Myreside
Ulster v Treviso 19h35 Kingspan Stadium
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints 20h15 AJ Bell Stadium
Sat, 04 March 2017
Hurricanes v Rebels 04h15 Wellington
Highlanders v Crusaders 06h45 Dunedin
Brumbies v Sharks 08h45 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sat, 25 February 2017
Waratahs v Force 19 | 13
Crusaders v Brumbies 17 | 13
Sunwolves v Hurricanes 17 | 83
Fri, 24 February 2017
Munster v Scarlets 21 | 30
Dragons v Leinster 22 | 54
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 17 | 18
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 18 | 27
Reds v Sharks 28 | 26
Highlanders v Chiefs 15 | 24
Thu, 23 February 2017
Rebels v Blues 18 | 56
Tue, 21 February 2017
CUT-Ixias v Shimlas 13 | 22
Mon, 20 February 2017
UJ v UP-Tuks 18 | 11
Maties v NMMU-Madibaz 35 | 16
UKZN-Impi v Fort Hare 16 | 10
NWU-Pukke v UCT-Ikeys 20 | 15
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Reds 1 1 0 0 4
Waratahs 1 1 0 0 4
Brumbies 1 0 0 1 1
Force 1 0 0 1 1
Rebels 1 0 0 1 0
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 1 1 0 0 5
Blues 1 1 0 0 5
Chiefs 1 1 0 0 5
Crusaders 1 1 0 0 4
Highlanders 1 0 0 1 0
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 0 0 0 0 0
Bulls 0 0 0 0 0
Cheetahs 0 0 0 0 0
Sunwolves 1 0 0 1 0
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Sharks 1 0 0 1 1
Lions 0 0 0 0 0
Jaguares 0 0 0 0 0
Kings 0 0 0 0 0