Chiefs sense special period

2012-08-05 15:53

Hamilton -The jubilant Chiefs sense they are on the verge of something special after claiming their breakthrough Super Rugby title with a 37-6 trouncing of the Sharks in Saturday's final.

The team of relatively unknowns sidestepped talk of a "dynasty" but they did credit the culture that has developed in the side, similar to the way the Crusaders were described when they claimed seven titles in 11 years.

Against the Sharks, the Chiefs recovered from a slow start to lead 13-3 at half-time and pile on a further 24 points in a stunning second spell display while claiming the try count 4-0.

The victory put them into an elite group of Super Rugby champions since the advent of professionalism in 1996, joining the Crusaders (seven titles), Bulls (three), Blues (three), Brumbies (two), and Reds (one).

It also capped a remarkable season for a team that began with a new coach and only a handful of name players yet developed to beat the best in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, the world's top three ranked countries.

Coach Dave Rennie, the architect of their rapid development, deflected credit saying the praise should go to the players.

"I'm really rapt for the boys, they've been a fantastic group to work with and deserve all the success they've got," he said reflecting on a remarkable season.

"The culture has been fantastic. They are a very tight group and enjoy each other's company and they've worked hard for each other.

"We targeted guys we thought would work hard for us and were willing to do a bit of graft, hit rucks and so on. We picked guys who probably weren't as heralded as others in the competition.

"But they've really stood up and we've got some great young kids and we've got some established players who went to another level this year and the leadership within the group was fantastic and that made a big difference."

Former All Blacks coach and tactical specialist Wayne Smith, who turned down a tempting offer to join the England coaching staff to be Rennie's assistant at the Chiefs won't talk of a dynasty but sees the team as something special.

"The team has played bloody well and with real spirit and character, but there is a lot of water to go under this bridge yet," Smith, who also coached the Crusaders to Super Rugby titles in 1997 and 1999, told the Sunday News.

"As soon as you start thinking of dynasties and things like that, that's when you topple over."

But Smith believes the Chiefs are at the beginning of something special "that we can really improve and there is no reason we can't become world class.

"From my experience, if you want to set up a successful number of years, then that's what you've got to do. You've got to be bloody good right across the board, not just on the field."

Their ability to bag the the Super Rugby crown without a galaxy of stars was reflected in the All Blacks squad named on Sunday for the upcoming Rugby Championship series against Australia, South Africa and Argentina.

It contained only four Chiefs - Liam Messam, Aaron Cruden, Sam Cane and Brodie Retallick - although Sonny Bill Williams is likely to be added for two matches.

The Crusaders, beaten in two out of their three clashes with the Chiefs during the year, provide nine All Blacks, the Highlanders six, the Blues five and Hurricanes four.


  • mark.polley.336 - 2012-08-05 16:29

    And the lions/transvaal one i believe, a Super is a Super, even if it was long ago. Sport 24 obviously forgot ?.................

      jean.rossouwsa - 2012-08-05 16:57

      Cats Super10, yip!

      koper.koos.1 - 2012-08-05 17:54

      They did not forget, they did not know in the first place. Their journalists are wet behind-the-ears products of OBE, where 30% sees you through matric and ready for the job market.

      bruce.dexter.5 - 2012-08-06 00:32

      Transvaal won the Super 10 in 93 or 94, that was before the advent of professionalism.

      eugene.brink.9 - 2012-08-06 08:13

      Keep your trap shut Isak Visser. At least the Sharks made it to the final against all odds. As a Bulls supporter I'm impressed with their push to reach the final. They knocked over a hapless Stormers team to do it.

  • goyougoodthing - 2012-08-05 16:42

    One swallow does not make a summer kids. One trophy, against travel weary opposition, is not stuff of legends yet. Don't get all big on yourselves just yet.

      shooshyu.tu - 2012-08-05 17:47

      no more excuse for the Sharks poor performance, they were just not up to it on the day, it wasn't even a close contest losing by 31 pts.

      goyougoodthing - 2012-08-05 18:31

      Erm, ok then. Chiefs sound like Stormer supporters...

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-08-05 18:42

      Goyou, Stormers supporters live on their own little planet. Nobody can compare.

      skinfaxi.mordor - 2012-08-05 19:48

      Shoosh I don't know much about rugby so maybe you can remind me...... against which team did the Bulls give the biggest hiding in Super Rugby Final history?

      blou.johnny - 2012-08-05 22:01

      ...11 years... ....Zero cups.... :-))

      Caleb - 2012-08-07 02:42

      Skinfaxi, that was a few years ago now, what does that have to do with this years victory by the Chiefs? And this would have to be one of the biggest wins in final history also. Infact it was a hiding.

  • smellarat.smith - 2012-08-05 16:53

    Very good team. However, we will have to see how SBWs departure affects their chances against e.g. the Crusaders. Also heard rumors that Carter is considering a move to the Blues. Another player that can make a significant difference.

      leigh.mapu - 2012-08-06 13:09

      Lol at Carter comment.

  • stompies.hattingh.5 - 2012-08-05 17:00

    Neem asb kennis!! - "The victory put them into an elite group of Super Rugby champions joining the Crusaders (seven titles), Bulls (three), Auckland Blues (three), Brumbies (two), and Reds (one)."

      koper.koos.1 - 2012-08-05 18:08

      Dankie Stompies, ons neem kennis dat die Bulls 3 keer kampioene was. Ons neem ook kennis dat die 3 oorwinnings in 2007, 2009 en 2010 absoluut niks beteken vir Springbokrugby in 2012 nie. Puik prestasie was die 3 Super bekers, maar kom ons kyk na wat vandag moet gebeur vir Bok Rugby.

      skinfaxi.mordor - 2012-08-05 20:35

      I'm glad to hear that the Bulls are such an elite group. Maybe they'll make it to the Currie Cup playoffs this year.

      isak.visser.79 - 2012-08-05 21:26

      DO NOT insult my NEW TEAM!!!! Blou Bull Groete!!!!

      blou.johnny - 2012-08-05 22:32 cups.... ...11 years... ...and counting...

      blou.johnny - 2012-08-05 22:33 cups.... ...11 years... ...and counting...

      backstabber.adder - 2012-08-06 02:33

      Bulls supporters teeth for more than 11 years... and counting Hehehehe...

  • rich.boud1 - 2012-08-05 23:29

    I make it 11 - 3 - 3. Super rugby officially started in 96. Won't be surprised if the Chiefs top the NZ conference again next year - with Rennie, Smith and Coventry there, they will be hard to beat. Some muppet was comparing this Chiefs side to the one thrashed by the Bulls in 09 - that team was coached by Foster. They cannot be compared. Those numbers 11 -3 -3 will be mentioned again at the end of TRC.

      Caleb - 2012-08-07 02:46

      Haha exactly Rich, whats that now, 11 out of 17 Super Rugby Titles for NZ franchises, since 1996. Oh yeah and 3 from 17 for SA.

  • rich.boud1 - 2012-08-05 23:37

    So NZ coaches now hold the RWC, the TN, Super Rugby Championship, The Heineken Cup, The Six Nations and The Currie Cup - fairly dominant I'd say.

  • heystek.erasmus - 2012-08-06 05:27

    To start talking of dynasties/domination for years to come,after their maiden trophy?i think they may a bit hasty on that one!defending the Cup will be more difficult than winning it this year,now the target on their backs are even bigger.i think the Crusaders will save some extra special attention for them next year.i will say,mayb they will make the top 6,but win it again,do not think they even going to make the final

      cape.maori - 2012-08-06 09:26


      Caleb - 2012-08-07 02:47

      You dont think they will make the final? Most were saying that they werent even going to make playoffs this year, look what happened.

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