Doubts will rightfully be raised about the quality of opposition but the Chiefs have once more stated their case as the most destructive team in Super Rugby.

Sunday morning's (NZT) thumping of the Kings showed the Chiefs near the best with ball in hand, adding to an attacking trend that has seen them race to the top of several statistical categories.

While it's still too early to assign much value to those trends, Dave Rennie's side lead the competition in tries (15), clean breaks (38), metres (1658) and sit second in defenders beaten (76).

Only the new bonus-point system has prevented them from holding a greater advantage in the New Zealand conference and, ahead of next weekend's tricky trip to face the Jaguares, Rennie was keen for the running rugby to continue.


"We tend to be at our best when we keep ball in hand," the coach said. "When we were direct and the quality of our cleanout was strong [against the Kings], we got really fast ball and we were able to get behind them quickly. When we're at our best, that's what we're doing well."

And that's what makes them so hard to defend. If opponents struggle to impede the Chiefs at the breakdown, Brad Weber or Tawera Kerr-Barlow snipe around the rucks, Aaron Cruden or Damian McKenzie put teammates into gaps, and Charlie Ngatai or Seta Tamanivalu reap rewards.

The key, in addition to keeping those players on the park, is finding the right balance. Rennie thought his charges could have kicked more in Port Elizabeth, especially in the early stages as errors and ill-discipline saw them losing the territory game.

"It was far from flawless," Rennie said. "We always want to play - that's part of our makeup - but we just have to get the balance right at times.

"We tried to play a little bit too much footy in our own quarter at we've got to be a little bit more sharper around that. I liked the intent, we just have to be far more accurate."

That was one word associated with McKenzie's performance, especially. Although the 20-year-old made a couple of atypical miscues from the high ball, the good more than made up for the bad.

He was faultless with the boot, slotting a perfect 10 to finish with a haul of 28 points, while his attacking threat was equally obvious while playing at fullback or, after Aaron Cruden was rested, at first five-eight.

"Damian was phenomenal from a goal-kicking point of view," Rennie said. "He's on outstanding form and incredible nick. He's only a little man but very powerful and he's a gutsy little bugger. He's been great and instigated a lot of the good things that happen on the park for us."

McKenzie and the Chiefs will be aiming to continue that against the Jaguares on Sunday, although the scrum may be of greater emphasis. The six new faces in the forward pack proved effective in steadying the unit against the Kings but Rennie knew the challenge that would await in Argentina.

"I think we've made a bit of a breakthrough in regards to working as an eight," he said. "We were much happier with that, but we know next week the Jaguares will be a massive test for us up front."