Chiefs wary of motivated Australian sides
May 8, 2013
Bundee Aki will join Counties Manukau team-mates for the Chiefs at Pukekohe's Ecolight Stadium. © Getty Images
Chiefs hooker Mahonri Schwalger said his side's success this season is down to a simple formula: learning the game plan and sticking to it.
With their first win over Trans-Tasman opposition this season on the line last Friday, the Chiefs travelled to Melbourne and came away with a 39-33 victory that saw them return to the top of the New Zealand conference.
Speaking ahead of the Waikato franchise's clash with Western Force at Pukekohe's Ecolight Stadium on Friday, Schwalger said the younger players were embracing the challenge of attaining consistency at crucial periods.
"For the guys it's the consistency to stick to the game plan," Schwalger said. "We've got a really young team, they have a lot of enthusiasm and energy to run, but at this sort of level there's a time and place for that. I think we need to stick to a game plan."
Schwalger argued it was that sort of consistency that saw them get out of jail against a determined Rebels side that pushed the Crusaders before succumbing 26-30 in Christchurch a week earlier.
"We went there to do a job and we did it. A lot of these teams are playing really good rugby, so we need to switch on for the whole 80 minutes."
Switching on against another Australian franchise will again be called on for what is expected to be a torrid affair with the Force in Pukekohe on Friday night.
"Most of the sides are looking to be in the Wallabies side to play the Lions. I think that's the other reason these guys are playing really well. A lot of these teams are playing really good rugby so we need to switch on for the whole 80 minutes."
The Force have 18 competition points in total from 12 rounds of play. The Chiefs, by contrast have 40 - more than twice as many as their opponents on Friday.
"We know our supporters from Counties Manukau will be out supporting the boys. Hopefully it'll be a good crowd and we're looking forward to putting in a good performance."
In the wake of another perfect November series, Monday Maul talks to NZRU CEO Steve Tew about the constant demand for perfection
The latest Week in Pictures takes in all the action from the weekend when rugby united behind Samoa
The Wallabies showed flair in Dublin, but they still have a way to go if they are to do more than make up the numbers at the World Cup, writes Greg Growden
England broke their losing streak, but this was not them clawing their way back among the best, writes Tom Hamilton