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Jaguares will be tough for Chiefs - Matson

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Wednesday, May 2, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Having secured their first win in New Zealand, and on an unbroken run of three victories, the Jaguares were on the verge of their best season in the competition.

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Matson said it was not surprising that the Jaguares had been so impressive in recent weeks.

"We've seen them perform like this in their national jersey and in previous games as well but I think the last two weeks in particular, on the road, in Canberra, a tough place, and then at Eden Park clearly they're a team in a stream of form," he said.

The ability of dynamic Jaguares fullback Joaquin Tuculet, a rival for Damian McKenzie for his elusiveness, was something Matson was wary of.

"I think anytime you've got a fullback that you kick the ball to that's a bit of a ghost…but on the back of that our training week has been really focused intensively, we've put a lot of time in today around our kick-chase to make sure we cannot give him too many opportunities," he said.

There was also an incentive to play well in their visit to Rotorua for the game as it was likely to be the last game No.8 Liam Messam had on his home ground.

"If we can control the tempo of the game and if our set-piece can contain their scrum we'll create enough opportunities to put them under immense pressure on Friday night," he said.

Matson said the decision to rest lock Brodie Retallick came down to looking after his well-being.
"He has been phenomenal, I don't think anyone can argue about that. He brings the kitchen sink every week and it just looked like he needed a rest so it's a great opportunity to give someone else a go and also to give him a breather before he goes to Africa," he said.

Second five-eighths Johnny Fa'auli had started every game so he was being rested also. Alex Nankiville will start and was a player completely different to Fa'auli and that put the Chiefs in the position where they could change their backline accordingly.

Nankiville was a good organiser and communicator and was accurate. The backline also went better when he was in it, Matson said.

"He's a bit of an enabler of the others around him and another key leader in the backline," he said.

Hooker Liam Polwart will start again with Nathan Harris coming off the bench. Matson said Polwart's form of late was part of the reason for that but they were also mindful that he would be starting against the Sharks in three game's time and needed to have plenty of match play behind him when heading into that game.

The Chiefs were looking at the Jaguares game and then their first game in South Africa against the Stormers before looking further ahead to their last three games before the June Test window.

"When you've got to rest players it's never ideal, but there is a plan in place," he said.

Flanker Lachlan Boshier, who had been ill, had been bracketed with Luke Jacobson for the game and that was just to ensure he came through Wednesday's training all right before the team heads to Rotorua on Thursday.