Nigel Yalden: 'Three-peat' of titles is well within Chiefs

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It's hard to believe the Chiefs spend any time away from each other.

Having successfully completed back-to-back Super Rugby titles in August last year, the players splintered off to either the All Blacks, their ITM Cup provinces, various operating theatres around the country or permanently departing to take up Northern Hemisphere contracts.

Yet when the returning players filter back to Ruakura, the delightfully tranquil surroundings on the eastern edge of Hamilton where Chiefs HQ is located, it's like they have never been away.

There is a beautifully understated confidence around the camp that everyone knows the expectations, now just put your head down and get on with it.

It's something that starts with the coaches which is where the Chiefs are quite unique.

By that I mean that while they have quality players who do the business on the park to a high level - led by All Blacks Liam Messam, Aaron Cruden, Brodie Retallick, Sam Cane and Tawera Kerr-Barlow - the coaching staff of Dave Rennie, Tom Coventry, Wayne Smith and Andrew Strawbridge actually get credit for the team's success; until recently a rarity in the an era of "when you're winning it's the players, when you're losing it's the coaches".

Even new recruits are preaching the ethos of "Chiefs mana" within days of first setting foot at the franchise and it's that all-encompassing philosophy that radiates positivity throughout the Chiefs' fan base.

Like the players, coach and management of the team, the Chiefs faithful understand that completing a "three-peat" will not be an easy task.

But such is the level of belief in how these "good buggers" play for each other and the region as a whole that the team represents, that it's now not a case of "why can't they" but rather "too right they can".

Even having endured there most medically challenging pre-season under Rennie - 19 players were unavailable (for differing reasons) for their first warm up game against the Red just under a fortnight ago - there is great faith among Chiefs supporters that this group of players, under the tutelage of this group of coaches, can deliver a third consecutive Super Rugby crown.

- NZ Herald

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