Chiefs back Super Rugby finals experience
August 2, 2013
Dave Rennie says the Chiefs learned in 2012 "that you've got to enjoy what you're doing" © Getty Images
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie believes the experience gained last year - and the fact they are once again playing in front of a sold-out Waikato Stadium - should stand them in good stead as they bid to become the fourth back-to-back Super Rugby championship-winning franchise when they host the Brumbies in the decider in Hamilton on Saturday.
"What we did learn was that you've got to enjoy what you're doing, rather than build up all the pressure on yourselves," Rennie said as he completed team preparations to follow in the footsteps of the Blues (1996-1997), Crusaders (1998-2000 and 2005-2006) and the Bulls (2009-2010).
"But we know that we've got a high-quality opposition and we need to be at our best again."
Victory over the Brumbies, playing finals football for the first time since 2004, would further vindicate the culture, work ethic and talent that Rennie and his assistants Wayne Smith, Tom Coventry and Andrew Strawbridge have nurtured in just two seasons in charge.
"It's not about us coaches," Rennie said, nothing that a second title would represent a fitting farewell for departing players Craig Clarke, Lelia Masaga, Richard Kahui, Brendon Leonard and Toby Smith.
"We get a lot of kudos through the media about what this team has achieved. But really it's the players that go out there and do the job. They deserve huge raps for what's happened over the last 18 months or so."
The Chiefs will draw upon their experience of winning the 2012 final in Hamilton © Getty Images
Rennie believes the Brumbies under Jake White and his assistants Laurie Fisher and Stephen Larkham are not too dissimilar. "They've got a really strong culture and are a group of guys who believe in each other and play for each other," he said.
Greg Growden and Russell Barwick preview the Super Rugby final
Hence Rennie believes the Brumbies present a sizeable challenge even though they lack finals experience - only George Smith and Clyde Rathbone have played in a Super Rugby final - and have endured a punishing travel schedule,
Rennie expects the Brumbies to stay true to their game plan based on set-piece accuracy, attacking the breakdown and playing for field position througed h the kicking of halfback Nic White, fly-half Matt Toomua and fullback Jesse Mogg.
"It will be a big call for them to play a completely different style of game," the Chiefs coach said after Larkham suggested the challengers could change things up on Saturday.
"But, 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."
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)
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham
"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin
After Brian O'Driscoll's emotional final Ireland appearance on home soil, and seeing the Six Nations boil down to a three-horse race, we bring you the Weekend in PIctures
Last year's thrashing at the hands of Wales was not the first time England have fallen to their rivals. Scrum Sevens looks at whether they have bounced back the following year