The Chiefs had a lot of positives to take away from their draw against the Hurricanes in Hamilton last week. They didn't leak points, their ball security was good and they were relatively well disciplined.

But while there were positives to their performance, assistant coach Tabai Matson said there was one part of the puzzle they were still missing.

"We're still winless," Matson said.

"It was another improved performance, and that's really important for us, [but] clearly not good enough to get a win."


The Chiefs will look to improve once more when they meet the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Sunday morning in the first match of a two-game road trip.

It will be a stern test for the visitors who haven't won in Pretoria since 2001, with the Bulls leading the South African conference and looking like one of the early favourites to hoist the title at the end of the year.

"We've just got to keep improving," Matson said of the upcoming game against the Bulls. "It's that simple."

In trying to build on the positive formula they found last weekend, Damian McKenzie remains at fullback while Jack Debreczeni joins the squad in the No10 jersey. Solomon Alaimalo also returns to the backline, taking up residence on the wing.

Anton Lienert-Brown of the Chiefs. Photo / Getty
Anton Lienert-Brown of the Chiefs. Photo / Getty

In the pack, Mitchell Brown moves into the No5 jersey to form a new locking combination with Brodie Retallick, allowing Luke Jacobson to start in the loose forwards. Angus Ta'avao also makes a return to the starting side, with Nepo Laulala moving to the bench.

"Clearly having a world-class fullback at the back made a world of difference last weekend," Matson said of McKenzie's appointment.

"It was another improved performance, and that's really important for us … One of the things we always try to do which we haven't done well this year is to play our game, play our game at tempo and try to be more accurate.

"We want to hold the ball for longer. We know if we do that, we are going to put anyone under pressure."


Chiefs: Damian McKenzie, Sean Wainui, Tumua Manu, Anton Lienert-Brown, Solomon Alaimalo, Jack Debreczeni, Brad Weber, Tyler Ardron, Lachlan Boshier, Luke Jacobson, Mitchell Brown, Brodie Retallick, Angus Ta'avao, Nathan Harris, Aidan Ross.

Reserves: Samisoni Taukei'aho, Tevita Mafileo, Nepo Laulala, Michael Allardice, Jesse Parete, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Alex Nankivell, Ataata Moeakiola.