Both coaches were a little grumpy following last nights blockbuster 26-18 encounter between the Chiefs and Hurricanes.
The game itself was actually played relatively well by both sides considering the conditions. No night in Waikato Stadium’s illustrious history has it rained this much, but yet the loyal Chiefs fans still came out numbers exceeding 15,000.
In the end, the Chiefs came away the winners, but the amount of scrappy off-ball incidents got both coaches talking when quizzed by the media.
Why It All Went Wrong For The Hurricanes
The key to the Chiefs win was how they managed to shut down some of the Hurricanes core leaders. Beauden Barrett looked under pressure the entire match and made some very un-characteristic mistakes. His younger brother Jordie was more interested in cheap shots off the ball, but when the 20-year old did get in space, he looked dangerous. Julian Savea did score late in the piece, but his impact on the game was little as he struggled to get time with the ball in hand.
TJ Perenara’s chirping did nothing but help the persistent scuffles off the ball. The Hurricanes captain, Dane Coles, also looked interested in going fist to fist with some of his Chiefs opponents. There was no leadership from the men that the Hurricanes can usually rely on to calm the rest of the team when things go wrong.
Key areas were targeted by the Hurricanes, including dominance at the breakdown and good hands under the high ball. You also can’t expect to get ahead in the game when you get two men sent to the sin bin in the First Half.
Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd admitted that the Hurricanes were unable to play their game.
“The Chiefs certainly deserved the victory, but we just didn’t get what we wanted out of the core areas of the game”, Boyd said.
Nehe Milner-Skudder Suffers Another Injury
Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd was coy about the outlook for Nehe Milner-Skudder when speaking to the media. In what appears to be a significant right ankle injury, Milner-Skudder left the field with assistance from team medics.
“I can’t give you any information on that because I haven’t spoken to anyone”, Chris Boyd said.
Milner-Skudder missed the majority of 2016 season with injury, and his return this year has been highly anticipated. Ironically, the injury that saw him miss out last time also occurred in the third round of Super Rugby. Pending confirmation, it appears the 26-year old will be facing further time on the sidelines. Milner-Skudder will find out the extent of his injury on Monday.
Scuffles & Fights Off The Ball
Three yellow cards, but several more incidents that could have seen that number increase got both coaches talking after the game.
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie implied that tensions between both sides are steadily on the rise in recent times. All game long there were fights off the ball, and more than a few underhanded cheap shots that were missed by referee Brendan Pickerall.
“There was a lot of stuff off the ball and this is what appears to happen, especially when we play the Hurricanes”, Rennie said.
Chiefs lock Dominic Bird put his shoulder into the back of TJ Perenara late in the game. Rennie was pressed about the incident after the match and asked if further action should be taken against his experienced veteran.
“I know the situation you’re referring to, but Bird had something insulting mouthed in his ear prior to that. He lost his cool a bit, but we need to be a bit more resilient around that sort of stuff”, Rennie said.
Meanwhile, Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd says he didn’t expect anything less than aggression from the Chiefs. Boyd estimated that up to five indiscretions off the ball went unnoticed by the referee.
“The Chiefs are the Chiefs and you know what you’re going to get, but some of those incidents aren’t in the best interests of footy”, Boyd said.
Key Notes From Chiefs 26-18 Win Over Hurricanes
- Chiefs utility Tim Nanai-Williams will miss the next 4-6 weeks with a dislocated shoulder.
- The Chiefs now lead Super Rugby’s NZ Conference with three straight wins.
- Hurricanes prop Loni Uhila suffered a calf injury.
- Three yellow cards were handed out in the match; two for the Hurricanes and one for Chiefs.
“Main photo credit”