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Friday, January 20, 2006

 

Super 14: Focus on the Chiefs


Source: thesilverfern.com
Article by Bartman


After a shonky start last season, the Chiefs eventually managed to make it to 6th place on the log. This year, with the least All Black representation, and a darw that sees them play in Boerland twice and then against the Western Force in Perth, expect after the first three rounds things to be pretty grim. But this team will come back from there, they have recruited well, have leadership coming back into the fold in Tom Willis, and a core of players with enough experience to really give this first season of Super 14 a good nudge.

Changes
There is plenty to be excited about this season for the Chiefs and their fans. Starting with the returning Tom Willis, which adds not just a fine front rower to the roster, but also another strong leader to back up captain Jono Gibbes. Also the Phantom, Mils Muliaina, New Zealand's best fullback is also going to be pulling on the colours. Sam Tuitupou also joins the Tribe, and will have much to prove after his horrible year in 2005. He'll want to put that behind him, and what better stage than the Super 14, and bringing up a previously under performing team in the Chiefs. A vital midfield addition. Only three players, but all in influential positions, the Chiefs will be vastly improved for it.

Strengths
The threes. Sivivatu, Anesi and Muliaina. No way in hell would you aimlessly kick to that three, they will tear you up every time. Holah, Bates, Lauaki in the loose trio too will be good to watch. Two genuine workers in Holah and Bates, and a game breaker in Lauaki. If Lauaki can play to the form that he showed against Canterbury in last seasons NPC, then all good. Plenty of depth in the loose too, with the return of Ormsby to the Chiefs, Liam Messam, and Gibbes all waiting in the wings. The leadership Gibbes, Bates, and Willis.

Weaknesses
Strange to say with a Chiefs team, but there seems to be no real weaknesses this season, nothing glaring at any rate. With Willis back at hooker, that area is shored up. Perhaps at lock a little short on real height (Upton and Gibbes starting locks), at lineout time, but clever play can beat the lack of tall timber. Perhaps also first five - Stephen Donald yet to be proven at Super 12 level, and Hill proven to be a better 12 than 10, and that is not really saying much...

Draw
Tough with three away games to start proceedings, 2 in Beorland, the other in Perth. Then 5 of the next 6 games are at home, and 9 of the 10 in New Zealand, so travel tiredness will not be a problem come the business end of the season.

Questions
What mix will Fozzy use in midfield? Will Hill or Tuitupou be starting in the 12 shirt? Mils at fullback or at centre? Can Holah, Gibbes and Willis lead this Chiefs forward pack to glory, and reclaim All Black jerseys in the process?

Look out for
Nathan White at loosehead prop. Up to it or not, I don't know, has the size for the job, in spades! Tuitupou to push himslef back into All Black contention. Holah also, and Tom Willis, will be rated number one hooker in New Zealand at the end of the Super 12 - injuries permitting!

Prediction
With the favourable draw, some handy new players, a bit of deadwood carted away, it is a promising season ahead for the Chiefs. Semi final contenders, possibly. Between 6th-4th.
Comments:
Boerland

Hey bartman- will we be seeing you in Bloem soon?
 
Maak al die Titans Proteas!!!  
Wes

Aldo, now known as Moff Myburgh, is going to laaik your comment kwaai, I am tjooning you my bra, he is going to laaik it stukkend.
 
ja, i'm gatvol of watching our cricket team lose. When Hansie was captain & we had Woolmer as coach we were nearly unbeatable. Hell, we even gave the Aussies a run for their money. I cant believe how crap they are playing...  
Wes, good to see you back, my man!

We need all the WP bias we can get on this site!!
 
Howzit ras?
Good to be back... i'm going to watch the Cobras tonite at Newlands... Lets hope they can do well cos they never won 1 match in the Standard Bank One Day games...

As for the Stormers, i'm quietly optimistic of their chances to do better this yr... If only we can get JVDW to join us, then we will be very competitive...
 
bloody good thing our cricket team dont get relegated hey???  
See the Zimbabweans have done everyone a favout and cancelled their test cricket nation status for a year.

Instead of ICC putting them out of their misery they've done it themselves.
 
PA


Stop laughing!!!!!
 
Davids,

:-)))
 
I rate the Chiefs 4th best Kiwi team.

They won't be competitive in SA
 
I do rate the Hurricanes, Blues and Crusaders to leave here with points though.  
Hey all especially davidS

PA has posted a piece on loose forward on OORB, please hop over and do it some justice
 
Donner.....


;-(((((
 
The Chiefs have several ongoing problems, and the first one is the Coach - he has a history of picking his former team-mates regardless of ability and form.

David Hill anywhere in the backline is a slooooooow genuine liability. Both Willis and Gibbes have spent about 70% of their time with the Chiefs nursing injuries off the field, I don't expect it will be any different this year.

Tuitupou was ditched by the Blues in favour of McAlister - Tuitupou is a genuine one play wonder - punch it up the guts ! That's all he can contribute, and he'll never get an AB jersey again as long as he lives. How many people believe Muliaina is the best fullback in NZ - I certainly wouldn't have him in the squad. He performed very well for John Mitchell but has been a consistent failure under the Henry combo,

Patrick.
 
intersting point about mills patrick, i know a lot of guys in SA rate him.  
Pissant,

On what basis do they currently rate him. Under Mitchell he was a regular contributor to the scoreboard - under the Headmaster he is only a worker with nothing to show for his time on the field.

Nick Evans should be playing at No.15 because he is a regular points contributor, breaks the line consistently, and has the best punt in the NZ game,

Patrick.
 
patrick,

most guys here are in awe of your back three, including mills and their attacking power.

but it must be said that under 'headmaster' he has not found the line that often lately - why?
 
Pissant,

Possibly two good reasons. The first being that he's been around for some time now, and he's playing for the money and not the thrill of the game.

Secondly he's had some very troublesome personal problems that have contributed to his game falling off badly last season. There was a reason for his move to the Chiefs.

If you watch his face you will see a troubled one,

Patrick.
 
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