PREVIEW: Chiefs v Waratahs
Thursday, May 24, 2018 Lynn McConnell Getty Images
Match details: Chiefs v Waratahs, Hamilton, May 26, 2018, 7.35pm
Won: Chiefs 8, Waratahs 13
Last time: Chiefs 46-31 Waratahs, FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton, March 6, 2017
The Chiefs have avoided successive losses this season. They lost their opening game against the Crusaders (23-45), then to the Hurricanes (13-25), the Jaguares 19-23 and last week to the Sharks (24-28). By they have won the remainder of their games with wins over the Blues (27-21a and 21-19h), the Sunwolves (61-10), the Highlanders (27-22), the Reds (36-12) and the Stormers (15-9). The Waratahs have managed six wins with four consecutive wins in Rounds 4-7. They have beaten the Stormers (34-27), the Rebels (51-27), the Brumbies (24-17), the Sunwolves (50-29), the Reds (37-16) and the Highlanders last weekend (41-12). They have also had a draw (24-24) with the Sharks.
?? Look out @chiefsrugby! The Waratahs are heading to Hamilton to play some ball! ??????
?? 7.35pm, Saturday 26 May
??? Stadium Waikato, Hamilton
?? #CHIvWAR pic.twitter.com/zIM5GmHht1— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) May 23, 2018
Coach Colin Cooper said the Chiefs were happy with the five points they had gained on tour in South Africa but were preparing for a different sort of game against the Waratahs. "They have really shown against New Zealand opposition what their attack can do, so we are doing a lot of work defensively to stop the Waratahs and their attack play," he said. Achieving that would require good recovery. "We felt there were some inaccuracies in our attack flow in our previous game and we will look to execute better this weekend," he said.
ANOTHER STEP UP
Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson said they were expecting a physical game, something the Chiefs were renowned for. "The way they play the game, they are strong in contact, and at the breakdown. They are also good with ball in hand from loose play so we cannot afford to be loose in any way. It's no secret that we like to play positive rugby with the ball in hand, that's a combination of what we have been doing at training. At the same time, we are really trying to tighten up our turnovers because with adventure comes mistakes. Our performance last week was pleasing, and on par with what we were projecting. This weekend we want an even more improved performance because consistency is important," he said.
Although not getting the result they wanted, Solomon Alaimalo of @ChiefsRugby helped his side to the bonus point against the Sharks this weekend. Who else do YOU think stood out?#StatChat pic.twitter.com/5fw2HT7E3m— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) May 22, 2018
The Chiefs have won 11 of their last 12 games against teams from Australia, including each of their last seven. While the Waratahs have won only one of their last 10 games outside Australia with only two losing bonus points to show for their efforts.
The Waratahs head to Hamilton knowing they have had the measure of the Chiefs in six of their last eight games although they will be looking to avoid back-to-back defeats by them since 2008. (Opta)
Chiefs: 1.Karl Tu'inukuafe, 2.Nathan Harris, 3.Angus Ta'avao, 4.Brodie Retallick, 5.Michael Allardice, 6.Luke Jacobson, 7.Mitch Karpik, 8.Liam Messam, 9.Brad Weber, 10.Damian McKenzie, 11.Sean Wainui, 12.Charlie Ngatai (captain), 13.Anton Lienert-Brown, 14.Toni Pulu, 15.Solomon Alaimalo.
Substitutes: 16.Samisoni Taukei'aho, 17.Sam Prattley, 18.Jeff Thwaites, 19.Jesse Parete, 20.Matt Matich, 21.Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22.Marty McKenzie, 23.Shaun Stevenson.
Waratahs: 1.Tom Robertson, 2.Damien Fitzpatrick, 3.Sekope Kepu, 4.Tom Staniforth, 5.Rob Simmons, 6.Will Miller, 7.Michael Hooper (captain), 8.Michael Wells, 9.Nick Phipps, 10.Bernard Foley, 11.Taqele Naiyaravoro, 12.Kurtley Beale, 13.Curtis Rona, 14.Cameron Clark, 15.Israel Folau.
Substitutes: 16.Tolu Latu, 17.Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18.Paddy Ryan, 19.Jed Holloway, 20.Brad Wilkin, 21.Jake Gordon, 22.Lalakai Foketi, 23.Bryce Hegarty.