Rennie demands more from Chiefs
April 4, 2014
Chiefs fly-half Aaron Cruden will retain the kicking duties despite struggling last week © Getty Images
Nothing short of a win will satisfy Chiefs coach Dave Rennie this weekend. The defending Super Rugby champions take on the struggling Cheetahs in Bloemfontein in the early hours of Sunday morning (AEST).
After a disappointing loss to the Western Force then a dramatic 34-all draw with the Bulls in Pretoria last weekend, Rennie is demanding more from his players at Free State Stadium.
"A win will do us. If we get a bonus-point win we'll be even happier," said Rennie. "It's essential from a tour point of view because we've had a loss and a draw so if we get a win here we'll go home leading our conference with the South African trip out of the way which will be good."
Rennie was impressed by the attitude his players showed last week as they scored 16 points in the final 11 minutes to clinch vital competition points. But the lineout was again an issue and with Mahonri Schwalger absent for at least another couple of games following an eye operation, the Chiefs coaching staff have opted to make changes to take some pressure off young hookers Rhys Marshall and Nathan Harris.
"There's been an enormous amount of work gone in (to the lineout) for a number of weeks but in the end we've got to get a better result," said Rennie. "So we've altered what we were doing at the lineout and our structure beyond that and hopefully we get a better result (on Sunday)."
The Chiefs have also been working hard on strategies to stop the driving mauls after being exposed there by the Bulls. The selection of Mike Fitzgerald at blindside flanker has been made with that in mind, although Rennie conceded trying to defend a maul was a bit of a lottery.
"There are legal strategies but they are all seen differently depending on which ref you come up against," said the Chiefs coach. "It's a funny part of the game isn't it? Because you get penalised for all sorts of obstructions but the maul you've got seven guys in front of the ball carrier."
Rennie also confirmed Aaron Cruden would retain the goal-kicking duties despite his struggles last week and Gareth Anscombe taking over to nail the match-tying conversion.
"He (Cruden) wants to kick. You want guys who want that responsibility. He'll start off," said Rennie. "Gareth has probably got a slightly longer boot so if there is anything beyond halfway then maybe he'll take those ones."
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