Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

Rugby: Sydney still daunting for Chiefs

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Seta Tamanivalu scores a spectacular try for the Chiefs against the Melbourne Rebels last Saturday. Photo / Getty Images
Seta Tamanivalu scores a spectacular try for the Chiefs against the Melbourne Rebels last Saturday. Photo / Getty Images

Sam Cane's enduring memory of playing the NSW Waratahs in Sydney is one he would rather forget.

Two seasons ago the Chiefs were set for a rare win in Sydney before Waratahs hooker John Ulugia stormed over to take the money.

If a hooker scores the winner in Sydney tonight Cane would rather it be his old Tauranga Boys' First XV team mate Nathan Harris for the Chiefs.

"Sydney hasn't been a happy hunting ground for us but we are pretty excited about the challenge of going over there and testing ourselves against them," Cane said.

"We know they are a bloody physical pack and they are pretty potent with ball in hand so defensively we will have to be on our game. The best way to avoid that is to hold on to the ball and build some pressure ourselves."

Cane was pleased with progress made by his team in their last start victory over the Melbourne Rebels in Hamilton.

"The way we started the game I would say is the best we have done all season so that's pleasing. What wasn't quite so pleasing is in the second half we sort of went off the boil a little bit and didn't execute the same way we had in the first half and without the same intensity.

"If we can replicate that first 30 or 35 minutes over the full 80 then we are definitely in the right direction."

Cane's aggressive defence had been a highlight of the season so far making a game-high 20 tackles last week.

"Defence is something I enjoy and something I always pride myself on. It doesn't really matter who we are playing or what we are doing. Defence is a lot about attitude so it is something you can control the majority of the time."

This weekend's round was the last before a five-week break in the Super Rugby season as the June internationals took centre stage.

The Chiefs lead the overall standings heading in to tonight's clash.

"It is exactly where we want to be at this stage of the season. Our destiny is in our own hands really. We don't need to rely on anyone else but ourselves to front up each week and get the job done," Cane said.

"This is a pretty important game for us as far as championship aspirations. If we can get this one right and go into the June window sitting on top that is a pretty good spot to be."

Cane was a certainty to be named on Sunday as the starting openside flanker for the All Blacks in the opening test against Wales in Auckland on June 11.

NSW Waratahs v Gallagher Chiefs Allianz Stadium, Sydney, tonight, 9.40pm

* Waratahs have won five of their last six games against the Chiefs.

* The Chiefs have won only twice in nine games against the Waratahs in Sydney.

* The Chiefs have won all five of their games away from home so far this season, the only team yet to lose a game on the road.

* The Chiefs have scored 52 tries this season, the most of any team.

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