It's not uncommon to hear coaches of any team sport stress the importance of depth in their squad.

While most teams like to think they've got it, the Chiefs know even if the deck's stacked against them they'll be able to field a competitive team on game day.

Throughout their Super Rugby campaign this season, the Hamilton-based club have had to rework their squad due to injuries and unavailablities on what seems to be a weekly basis.

So it was nothing new for Colin Cooper's men to be without a few players for their clash against the Sharks on Sunday morning, yet this time seemed a little bit different. Through injury and All Blacks camps, the Chiefs had 20 players unavailable against the Sharks so you can understand Cooper being pleased with the fight his side showed in the 38-34 loss.


"For the amount of changes, I was just really proud as a coach that we showed a lot of ticker," Cooper said.

"The effort was huge. I've seen other teams fold under the pressure that the Sharks have put on them, and these guys didn't give up. To fight back and get that bonus point was great to see."

Tendai Mtawarira of the Sharks makes a run against the Chiefs. Photo / Getty Images.
Tendai Mtawarira of the Sharks makes a run against the Chiefs. Photo / Getty Images.

The Kiwi side were up for the fight against the Sharks. Locked at 10-10 at halftime, the Sharks just got the better of the Kiwi side in the latter 40, with a last-second Solomon Alaimalo try securing a bonus point for the visitors.

Versatile forward Tyler Ardron left the game under an injury cloud in the second half after taking a knock to the head. He'll go through concussion protocols ahead of next week's clash against a Waratahs side fresh off a win over the Highlanders.

While the loss likely puts what slim chance the side had of winning the New Zealand conference to rest, they'll return home to face the in-form New South Wales outfit. The Chiefs were expected to welcome the return of All Blacks quartet Brodie Retallick, Anton Lienert-Brown, Nathan Harris and Damian McKenzie for that match.

"It's all about having the depth and giving young men opportunities when injuries and unavailablities [arise]," Cooper said.

"We're home, and we've got some reinforcements and experience at home that'll be fresh and will help bring this group up from the travel."

Chiefs unavailable to face the Sharks
Aidan Ross (ankle)
Kane Hames (concussion)
Mitchell Graham (leg)
Nathan Harris (ABs camp)
Atu Moli (quad haematoma)
Nepo Laulala (arm)
Brodie Retallick (ABs camp)
Fin Hoeata (shoulder)
Dominic Bird (shoulder)
Mitchell Brown (knee)
Lachlan Boshier (appendicitis)
Sam Cane (abdominal)
Mitchell Karpik (concussion)
Taleni Seu (back)
Damian McKenzie (ABs camp)
Tiaan Falcon (hand)
Anton Lienert-Brown (ABs camp)
Regan Verney (groin)
Sam McNicol (concussion)
Tim Nanai-Williams (shoulder)