Wellington - The Chiefs have been told to get their act together for their Super Rugby clash with the Bulls after an unconvincing win over the struggling Rebels.
Coach Dave Rennie read the riot act to the two-time champions after they needed a late burst to overcome Australia's bottom-placed team in their last outing.
"There were some carefully chosen words," Rennie said, after showing his players images from the Rebels match. "When the guys looked at it, they were pretty embarrassed."
The Chiefs return from a bye with a record of four wins out of four games so far to lie second in the New Zealand conference behind the Crusaders.
The Crusaders will also need to improve after being sent to scrum school following a series of collapses in their recent wins against the Reds and Force.
Despite having a pack bulging with All Blacks, the seven-time champions have been put through a refresher course in scrum techniques ahead of their game against the Waratahs in Sydney.
"We want it to be a contest, and we don't want re-sets like that," said assistant forwards coach Jason Ryan.
The Hurricanes will need to contend with the after-effects of
Cyclone Debbie as they take on the Reds in storm-soaked
As well as the severe weather, the Hurricanes will also have to cope
with the loss of captain and All Blacks hooker Dane Coles, who is
nursing an injured knee.
Meanwhile, the Stormers revealed an unusual approach to
training ahead of their game against the unfancied Cheetahs.
While the Cheetahs may not pose formidable opposition, Stormers coach
Robbie Fleck is taking a long-term view and preparing his side as if
facing a New Zealand franchise.
A quirk of the draw meant the Stormers did not play a New Zealand
side last year until the quarter-finals when thrashed 60-21 by the
They play all five New Zealand teams this year, starting with the
Chiefs next weekend, and flyhalf Robert du Preez said preparations were
already under way.
"Our training has changed a lot," Du Preez said.
"Every Thursday we
do what we call a 'Kiwi Day' just to prepare for them because we knew
that they pose a different threat.
"We go hard at each other on Thursdays."
In the congested Africa 2 Conference, the Lions play the Sharks with both sides having one loss from five outings so
Argentina's Jaguares, with a similar record, have a bye.
In Australia, the Brumbies also have a bye leaving the way open
for the Waratahs and the Reds to challenge them for the top spot.
The remaining two matches see the Highlanders play the Rebels
in Dunedin on Friday, while the Blues host the Force on
15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Shaun
Stevenson, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Johnny Faauli, 11 James Lowe, 10
Aaron Cruden (co-captain), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam
Cane (co-captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Dominic Bird, 3
Nepo Laulala, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Siegfried Fisi'ihoi
16 Brayden Mitchell, 17 Kane Hames, 18 Atu Moli, 19 Taleni Seu, 20
Mitchell Karpik, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Stephen Donald, 23 Solomon
15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Travis
Ismaiel, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11Jamba Ulengo, 10
Handré Pollard, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Nick de Jager, 6 Ruan
Steenkamp, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan
Strauss (captain), 1 Pierre Schoeman
Substitutes: 16 Edgar
Marutlulle, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20
Jannes Kirsten, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Warrick Gelant