Chiefs embrace underdog tag
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Chiefs are happily embracing the underdog tag, as they go into Super Rugby semifinal against the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday.
The Hamilton-based franchise led the Super Rugby standings for much of the season, but will be the lowest ranked side in the weekend's two semifinals.
These two giants last met in Wellington in April.
The Hurricanes went through the season in 2015 as the tournament leaders, but were unable to finish it off and were beaten in the Final by the Highlanders.
This season they finished top of the standings and have been heavily tipped to win the title - as they will have home advantage in the Final if they get past this weekend.
The Hurricanes have been at home in New Zealand for the last three weeks and won't have to fly anywhere if they beat the Chiefs.
In stark contrast the Chiefs had to fly from Cape Town to play this week's match in Wellington and have not played a match in New Zealand since the middle of May.
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie told stuff.co.nz that he is happy for his two time winners to keep flying under the radar.
"Oh absolutely, it's good," said Rennie.
"There's no doubt they're the form side in the competition.
"They've been incredibly consistent and had pretty tough opponents over the last five or so games".
The trip back from South Africa after beating the Stormers has meant a lighter week for the Chiefs.
"It's easy to get sucked into trying to do too much in these weeks because you think the game's more important," Rennie continued.
"Sometimes less is more. We've had a whole year of training.
One worrying stat for the Hurricanes fans is that they have lost all six of their play-off matches against New Zealand teams and Rennie is happy that his team are more conditioned for play off rugby against New Zealand sides.
"Of course playoff footy goes to another level, there's a little bit more on it," he said.
"So we understand that, but we've seen our boys dig deep on countless times this year. We've done a bit of travel and there's been a bit of adversity and they've fronted really well.