The two-time defending champion Chiefs are looking to turn around their poor form against Australian sides when the head to Canberra on Saturday.
In what has been a disappointing season by their standards, the Chiefs lost to the Western Force (15-18 in Perth), the Brumbies (23-41 in Canberra) and the Waratahs (17-33 in Hamilton), while they only managed to score one try in beating the bottom-placed Rebels 22-16 in Hamilton after returning from South Africa.
''There is no doubt our guys, when they play the Kiwi sides, get up big time," Chiefs coach Dave Rennie told the Waikato Times.
''They've got a lot of mates in the teams, there's a lot of history and that sort of thing and while we certainly don't disrespect the Aussie sides, maybe we haven't always had the same sort of physical edge.
''If you look at it the Waratahs outmuscled us, the Brumbies outmuscled us and we're well aware we need to get our heads in the right place for this weekend, otherwise if we don't bring any physicality we've got no show,'' Rennie added.
The Chiefs are not happy merely to be in the Super Rugby play-offs.
After two championship titles in the last two seasons the expectations are a lot higher than that, even if this year they had to battle to scrape into the top six.
To win the title this season the Chiefs would likely have to win three knock-out matches away from home in the next three weeks - starting with the Brumbies in Canberra on Saturday.
But that is what they are aiming for.
''I think there's an understanding here that it's not even about making the playoffs, it's about winning this thing,'' Chiefs' assistant coach Wayne Smith told the newspaper.
''We've got to ramp up another gear yet.''
Smith said little changed for the Chiefs this week as, in reality, they had already been in knock-out mode for the last two weeks, having to win their last two round-robin matches just to qualify.
''When we lost to the Highlanders Dave got on his phone and did a few calculations and said we've still got a chance, but we knew we had to win.
''I think if you look at all the teams this team's shown a lot of mental toughness to win away from home in a sudden-death situation.
''These boys want it badly, we've had to win to get there, we've had to win under big pressure, we've kept it simple, made it pretty personal and I think we'll just continue with that sort of recipe,'' Smith added.
Source: Waikato Times