Chiefs ready for Stormers push

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Friday, April 7, 2017    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

That 60-21 loss came after the Stormers faced no New Zealand sides in the round-robin play and has resulted in a change of attitude this season.

But assistant coach Neil Barnes said the Chiefs would be taking nothing from last year's quarter-final into Sunday's game, it was history as far as they were concerned.

"There's been a lot of talk over here about how we hurt them last year but it's dead and over for us. We've got to start over and we're starting the game at 0-0," he said.

"We're treating it like another game in the competition, they're a massive threat. They're unbeaten and they're a very, very good side. Last year we might have caught them on the hop a little with a few things.

"But they've changed their defence now so we're not going to get away with that again so it should be a really close game.

"They've definitely upped the ante in the off-load and keeping the ball alive. Their game is probably as expansive as you will see in South Africa and it's a good brand of rugby so defensively we're going to have to do a lot of work to make sure they can't get their off-loads away and that our line speed is good and keep a bit of pressure on them.

"If we don't do that then we will be in a little bit of trouble," he said.

The Stormers were down on mid-field experience with Springboks missing from their line-up however, Barnes said their replacements had been performing well and not too many sides had been able to find a way through the mid-field.

"We've got our own plan of how we're going to attack these guys but we're not necessarily picking on their mid-fielders at the moment," he said.

Explaining the selection for the game he said wing Toni Pulu was back in after injury. He was seen as the No.2 wing behind James Lowe and while Shaun Stevenson had stepped up last week there were areas of his game that he still needed to improve to claim a starting position.

He was putting pressure on but Pulu still rated ahead of him.

Stephen Donald was getting another start at second five-eighths and while he wasn't as young as he used to be he was in good physical form, Barnes said and the management had confidence in him.

"He gives us a lot of experience there and having Aaron [Cruden] and him together will give us good leadership out on the paddock," he said.

The side was mindful of making a better start in recent weeks. There been some messing up of individual roles and discipline was below the preferred level and when they were combined with not retaining the ball it meant ground was conceded to the opposition's advantage.

"There's been a fairly big emphasis on making sure we do our homework and we get our roles right and that we get a lot more accurate than we have been in our last two or three games.

"We're quite impressed with how the boys have finished off most of the games but there is obviously a need for an improvement in our accuracy in this game," he said.