Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

Rugby: Chiefs' attack a major threat to all

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First-five Aaron Cruden was in sparkling form for the Chiefs against the Brumbies in Canberra on Saturday night. Photo / Getty Images
First-five Aaron Cruden was in sparkling form for the Chiefs against the Brumbies in Canberra on Saturday night. Photo / Getty Images

The shock waves from the Gallagher Chiefs' astonishing 48-23 victory over the Brumbies in Canberra on Saturday night are still reverberating around the rugby world.

The Chiefs did not just beat the competition's best defensive side - they ripped them apart in a dazzling performance that should cause sleepless nights ahead for their next opponents, the Blues.

The Chiefs scored six brilliant tries that started from deep in their own half to back up the nine they put past a bewildered Western Force in Hamilton the week before.

In this form it is hard to see how any team in Super Rugby could possibly close down the Chiefs' attacking potency.

If they do go on to win the title playing this brand of rugby then the Chiefs may well be saving a sport that is mired in complicated rules, collapsed scrums and a worrying increase in serious head injuries.

Undoubtedly the player who has sparked the Chiefs potent attacking mindset is the size of a schoolboy but with the heart of a lion. Fullback Damian McKenzie scored his seventh try in six games and along with Aaron Cruden, Brad Weber, Charlie Ngatai, James Lowe and new sensation Toni Pulu is part of the competition's most lethal backline.

Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie rated the win over the Brumbies as special.

"It is a tough place to win and they are a quality side. It was a big effort and we are stoked.

"They have a very strong record at home obviously but we played pretty well and certainly finished pretty strong," Rennie said.

"We have a really positive mindset around our attack. We have done a hell of a lot of work around our skill sets. I think our support play and ability to keep the ball alive has been massive. A lot of that comes down to our conditioning as well."

Rennie praised the role his co-captain Sam Cane played in combating the threat of Brumbies openside David Pocock.

"It was massive. We were well aware of Pocock's ability and [Scott] Fardy is very strong on the ball as well. We probably didn't do a good enough job early in the game eliminating those guys and that put us under a bit of pressure but our boys were pretty good over the ball last night too. We got a hell of a lot of steals and profited from that."

The Chiefs have surged to the top of the New Zealand Conference and overall Super Rugby standings despite a lengthy injury list and odious travel schedule to Argentina and South Africa.

But Rennie had some good news about two returning All Blacks locks for the clash with the Blues on Friday.

"We are pretty confident we will have Brodie [Retallick] and Dominic [Bird] back in the fold this week, and [halfback] Tawera [Kerr-Barlow] should be available."

- Chiefs v Blues, FMG Waikato Stadium, Friday April 8, 7.35pm. Tickets: or phone 0800 4 CHIEFS (0800 424 4337).

- Bay of Plenty Times

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