Chiefs hooker Nathan Harris predicts tough semifinal

Add a comment
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 27: Nathan Harris of the Chiefs makes a break during the round 14 Super Rugby match between the Waratahs and the Chiefs at Allianz Stadium on May 27, 2016 in Sydney, Australia
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 27: Nathan Harris of the Chiefs makes a break during the round 14 Super Rugby match between the Waratahs and the Chiefs at Allianz Stadium on May 27, 2016 in Sydney, Australia

A test match intensity with no love lost either way.

That is how Chiefs hooker Nathan Harris is describing Saturday night's semifinal showdown in Wellington against the Hurricanes.

"It has pretty much felt like we played South Africa last week and now we are playing the All Blacks," Harris said.

"Every semi or quarter-final in Super Rugby and even in the pool play it is pretty much like a test match week in and week out.

"It is going to be a real tough match-up from player to player. It is pretty equal so it will be a humdinger of a clash."

The Chiefs have travelled back from Cape Town in South Africa after Sunday morning's outstanding 60-21 thrashing of the Stormers.

The long haul flight has played havoc with players' body clocks and preparation ahead of Saturday's night clash in the Capital.

But Harris is not having any suggestion it will affect their preparation.

"It is going to be tough but to be honest we don't talk about the travel factor. That is more mental than physical so you have to switch on."

Harris says speeding up the game was what worked so well against the Stormers.

"The tempo of the ball we played with was key. We were trying to run them round as we know they are big boys who like to go from set piece to set piece.

"So we got to lineouts quickly, keeping the ball alive with off-loads, spreading them wide and making them run around a lot more. That was the big thing I guess."

The Chiefs beat the Hurricanes 28-27 in Wellington in round nine back in April.

Both teams are full of attacking brilliance but Harris says that only comes after the hard work is done up front.

"I guess it all starts from set piece and that's the nuts and bolts of it to be honest.

"We need to get in there and make some nice big tackles and just try and slow their ball down and play our game to the best that we can do.

"In every team the bench is pretty important and can be the difference between winning and losing the game.

"All Kiwi teams play exactly the same sort of brand of footy that is nice and expansive."

The Hurricanes have lost their captain and fellow All Blacks team mate of Harris in Dane Coles.

Harris thinks his loss may be felt more in the on-field leadership than in the set piece scrums.

"To be honest I don't really think it will weaken their scrum too much.

"They have Ricky Riccitelli there who is a big boy and pretty good at the set piece and loves to carry the ball.

"They won't lose too much there but it is more around their leadership that Colesy brings.
"It opens a window for other players to step up in their team."

Factbox
Super Rugby semifinals
Hurricanes v Chiefs, Wellington
Saturday July 30, 7.35pm
Lions v Highlanders, Johannesburg
Sunday July 31, 1am (NZ time)

- Bay of Plenty Times

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 22 Jan 2017 10:16:13 Processing Time: 289ms