The Chiefs' start to the 2019 Super Rugby season has been nothing short of abysmal.

A 30-27 loss to the Highlanders in the opening round is perhaps one you can let slide. Although the way they let the Otago-based side come back in that one was probably a good sign of what was to come, because things have only got worse since then.

Losing 50-17 against the Brumbies in round two was a shock - losing 30-15 - and being completely outplayed against the Sunwolves at home at the weekend was downright unbelievable.

In any sport, you can ignore a few bad results if the team is playing well and with enthusiasm, there can be a feeling that the results will come. Unfortunately for Chiefs fans, that is not the case.

Advertisement

Against the Sunwolves they were completely out-enthused. This is against a side who had never won away from home. Maybe that gave the Sunwolves extra motivation, but there were Chiefs players who looked like that field was the last place they wanted to be. That is concerning.

The 2019 Chiefs squad is not the strongest it has been in recent years, but few would have predicted their results so far.

In this situation you would hope for a few weak opponents so you could work your way back into form. That is not the case for the Chiefs.

The nightmare may well continue as they take on the table-topping Crusaders, fifth-placed Hurricanes, fourth-placed Bulls (in South Africa) and the Jaguares in Argentina during the next four weeks.

Chiefs Angus Ta'avao (left) and Brad Weber after losing to the Sunwolves at home. Photo / Getty Images
Chiefs Angus Ta'avao (left) and Brad Weber after losing to the Sunwolves at home. Photo / Getty Images

From what we've seen so far, something needs to change - how the Chiefs perform in those games will tell us a lot about where they end up this season.

Youthful Magic full of promise

While the Waikato BOP Magic went down 43-37 to the Central Pulse in Rotorua on Monday night, there was plenty to like about their play.

A lot has changed since the Magic became the only New Zealand side to win the ANZ Championship, which included Australia's top domestic sides, in 2012.

Advertisement

There was a time when the Magic ruled domestic netball and groomed star veterans such as Anna Stanley, Laura Langman, Irene Van Dyk, Maria Folau, Leana De Bruin, Grace Kara and Casey Kopua.

Waikato BOP Magic goal attack Abigail Latu-Meafou made 12 out of 15 shots against the Central Pulse on Monday in Rotorua. Photo / Photosport
Waikato BOP Magic goal attack Abigail Latu-Meafou made 12 out of 15 shots against the Central Pulse on Monday in Rotorua. Photo / Photosport

Of those, 33-year-old Kopua is the only veteran remaining and she is surrounded by youth. The next oldest players are 26-year-old Jenna O'Sullivan and 25-year-old Ariana Cable-Dixon, the rest are 23 or younger.

So much youth brings excitement and fresh and enthusiasm, but also comes with challenges. On Monday, against a relatively experienced Pulse side, the Magic showed glimpses of fast-paced, clinical play which, if they can do it consistently, will see them go close to their dominant ways of the past.

However, youth also brings its own challenges. At times decision making was poor and there were periods of the game where the Magic went off the boil a little. These are things that can be mastered with experience and if this team sticks together they definitely have the potential to do great things.