Chiefs flanker Mitchell Brown has given a blunt assessment of his side's defensive woes in the opening four rounds of the Super Rugby season.
Without a win in their first four matches, the Chiefs have conceded a league high 171 points. It's an alarming statistic for the side, and one Brown said needed to be fixed quickly.
"We've conceded on average about 40 points per game which is bloody shocking," Brown said.
After an impressive campaign in 2018, the Chiefs have stumbled into the season. Among the league's top eight offenders in turnovers, missed tackles, errors, and points, tries and linebreaks conceded per game, it's been a tough four weeks for the Hamilton club.
As a result, head coach Colin Cooper's role has come under fire from fans and media.
"I think he's probably unfairly copping a lot of the blame," Brown said. "At the end of the day it comes down to the players on the field and how we perform so we've just got to go out there and do our jobs.
"Obviously we've been under the pump a wee bit for the last four games, but I think the belief is still there that when we get it right we'll beat anyone on our day. We're keeping spirits high and the belief's still high."
The Chiefs will host the Hurricanes in Hamilton on Friday night as they look to get their season off the ground. It's the Chiefs' third local derby in five matches, and one they know they need to step up for.
"It's bloody important," Brown said of the fixture. "Not just in terms of the competition but just for our personal pride and for our fans and family. We've just got to get out there and do the work really, there's been a lot of stuff said and we just need to, as players, go out there and do what we do and perform well."
"If we stop turning the ball over and start showing some resolve and ticker on defence, it'll go a long way."
Chiefs team to play the Hurricanes:
Damian McKenzie, Sean Wainui, Tumua Manu, Anton Lienert-Brown, Ataata Moeakiola, Marty McKenzie, Brad Weber, Tyler Ardron, Mitchell Karpik, Mitchell Brown, Michael Allardice, Brodie Retallick, Nepo Laulala, Nathan Harris, Aidan Ross.
Reserves: Samisoni Taukei'aho, Ryan Coxon, Angus Ta'avao, Taleni Seu, Luke Jacobson, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Alex Nankivell, Etene Nanai-Seturo.
Chiefs per game statistics
42.8 (most in the competition)