Rugby: Cane lifts game to new level

The Chiefs are winging their way to South Africa after winning both their opening games in defence of the Super 15 title they won last year.

Everything looks rosy on the surface, especially after they ran in six unanswered tries to demolish the Cheetahs 45-3 at Waikato Stadium on Saturday night.

But the thunderous look on coach Dave Rennie's face at the post-media interviews gave away what he and the team really thought about that win.

The Chiefs were barely in the game at halftime, with their set piece struggling, but they were ahead 10-3 thanks to poor goalkicking and lost opportunities by the Cheetahs, and some heroic defence from All Blacks openside flanker Sam Cane.

Rennie admitted there were a few expletives in his halftime chat but whatever he said it worked as the Chiefs came out firing.

The second half began with an immediate try to Chiefs tighthead prop Ben Afeaki, after lock Brodie Retallick charged down an aimless clearing kick.

Blues-reject Gareth Anscombe converted brilliantly from the sideline chalk to give the Chiefs a 17-3 lead and all the early momentum

The Chiefs' brilliant attacking ability clicked into gear in the final 20 minutes when they scored four more tries - most starting deep in their own half.

Cane was clearly the standout player on the park and the time he spent in the All Blacks camp last year has clearly taken his game to a new level - particularly his tackling.

"I think I have improved and technically I feel pretty good at the moment," Cane said.

"I am going low and trying to work on keeping my feet going so I am not just taking their feet out but on the odd occasion driving them back as well.

"Making consecutive tackles is just work rate and getting back off the ground and back into the line because you are no good to anyone when you are on the deck."

Cane is pleased with the start to the campaign and can't wait to get stuck into the Stormers and Kings.

"We are all looking forward to getting to Cape Town.

"We don't get to go there all the time and the Stormers will be a heck of a challenge over there."

Chiefs v Cheetahs

Chiefs 45 (Liam Messam, Ben Afeaki, Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Gareth Anscombe, Rhys Marshall, Ben Tameifuna tries; Anscombe 6 cons, pen).

Cheetahs 3 (Johan Goosen pen)

- Rotorua Daily Post

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