Jake White hails Chiefs coaches
August 2, 2013
Dave Rennie is the only coach to win the Super Rugby title in his debut season © Getty Images
Jake White is extremely wary of the Chiefs' coaching staff as he stands one match from finalising his transformation of a ragtag Brumbies group into Super Rugby champions.
The Chiefs' Dave Rennie became the first Super Rugby head coach to win a title in his debut season, after he assumed the reins in Hamilton in 2012, and his right-hand man, Wayne Smith, was a New Zealand assistant coach when the All Blacks won Rugby World Cup 2011 having coached the Crusaders to their first two Super titles in 1998 and 1999.
"They've been there and done it," said White, himself a Rugby World Cup- and Under-21 World Cup-winning coach. "With coaching teams, you've got to make sure you get the right people around you and there's no doubt the Chiefs have got a happy medium there. Their coaching staff has been phenomenal."
Smith no doubt will welcome White's praise, but he doesn't believe coaches will play a key factor in the Super Rugby final at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton.
"This time of year you could have monkeys coaching probably," Smith said. "You've still got to go through your routines and keep them the same, but the baton needs to be passed to the players." Smith and Rennie, nevertheless, have studied a lot of Brumbies footage to help their side prepare for the final.
Rennie doesn't expect the Brumbies to tweak their game plan after two weeks of South African opposition, despite assistant coach and Wallabies great Stephen Larkham suggesting as much earlier in the week.
"It will be a big call for them to play a completely different style of game," Rennie said. "Having said that, we randomise our trainings just in case the opposition throws something different at us. I think they've been successful through their ability to play territory and play at the right end of the field and strangle you through their set-piece. I'd be surprised if that changes."
Larkham said earlier in the week: "We've certainly got to change our game plan to a certain extent and refocus on a different style of play. They're the best team in New Zealand. There's a number of challenges that go with playing in a final, obviously the atmosphere in Hamilton is something that the guys haven't played in front of before. Playing in a grand final and playing against the best New Zealand side is something we haven't done this year, so there's a number of challenges for these guys."
Follow live text commentary of the Super Rugby Final between the Chiefs and the Brumbies on Saturday, August 3, from 7pm (NZT), 5pm (EST), 7am (GMT)
Greg Growden and Russell Barwick preview the Super Rugby final
Firdose Moonda talks to Rob Louw about the difficulties of being a South African touring New Zealand at the height of Apartheid
Huw Richards profiles French forward Walter Spanghero, a man who even rugby's hard men thought was a tough nut
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games