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‘It didn’t look good’: Chiefs coach provides update on injured All Black

By Finn Morton
Chiefs' Shaun Stevenson (L) reacts after a successful try during the Super Rugby match between the NSW Waratahs and the Chiefs in Sydney on April 26, 2024. (Photo by Saeed KHAN / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE -- (Photo by SAEED KHAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan expects fullback Shaun Stevenson to miss “a couple of weeks” after the one-Test All Black picked up what appeared to be a hamstring injury during the 38-22 win over the Waratahs on Friday.

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Following a dominant opening quarter from the Waratahs at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium, Stevenson’s individual brilliance helped inspire the Chiefs’ comeback as the visitors began to chip away at the Tahs’ imposing 12 point deficit.

With the Chiefs down a man after Etene Nanai-Seturo was shown a yellow card, Stevenson got the ball about 40 metres out for the try line but was good enough to turn the play into something special by weaving through a gap in midfield.

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The man known as ‘Shooter’ beat Waratahs first five Tane Edmed on the inside with a right foot step which saw the outside back run into the house untouched. But unfortunately for the Chiefs, Stevenson pulled up worse for wear and was replaced.

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Stevenson grabbed his right hamstring as he placed the ball down for the score, and after receiving some medical treatment in the in-goal area, the prolific try scorer limped off the field for what might be the last time for a short while.

“It didn’t look good,” coach Clayton McMillan told reporters. “It didn’t look good right from the outset and I imagine that he’ll be out for at least a couple of weeks.

“I would think he wouldn’t have come off if it wasn’t serious.

“We’ve also had an injury to Jimmy Tupou. Looks like he’s got a fractured eye socket so it’s just another example of the game being physical by nature and sometimes injuries are going to happen.

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“It’s unfortunate because I thought he was pretty integral to a lot of the good stuff that we did today.”

Stevenson’s much-needed try in the 22nd minute helped breathe new life into the Chiefs as they begun to take control of the contest. The visitors started to look much more threatening as Damian McKenzie started to have more of a say.

Match Summary

1
Penalty Goals
0
3
Tries
6
2
Conversions
4
0
Drop Goals
0
119
Carries
115
5
Line Breaks
9
15
Turnovers Lost
10
5
Turnovers Won
3

McKenzie, who is widely considered the front-runner to wear the All Blacks’ No.10 jersey, sent winger Emoni Narawa over for a score just before the break with a sensational cut-out pass. Narawa was good enough to beat the covering defensive effort from Max Jorgensen.

The Chiefs levelled the score at 12-all with that Narawa effort, but took things to an all-new level in the second term as they crossed for four tries to the Waratahs’ one. It was a bit of a grind but the Chiefs did enough to secure a bonus point win.

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“(We) really challenged our guys around being physical, especially early, and I think both teams came with that mindset,” McMillan said.

“We’re winning that battle but paid the price early.

“We stayed composed and got a couple of opportunities late in the first half that got us back to an even ball game and we were happy with that.

“We’ve got a lot of respect for the Waratahs,” he added. “We feel like they’re a better team than what the ladder shows.

“Every time we’ve played them they’re a big side, a physical side, and the games that they’ve won against the Crusaders (this season) have been built around that.

“Really respected what they were going to bring to the table but more than anything we were unhappy with that aspect of our game against the Hurricanes so it was an opportunity over our bye week to look in the mirror and ask ourselves if that’s the sort of rugby that we want to see in the Chiefs jersey.

“I don’t think too many people wanted to see that so it was good to see a response today.”

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J
Jon 2 hours ago
British & Irish Lions free agent open to Super Rugby switch

There are a couple of teams who could use a stop gap experienced head. Blues - I’m not sure the Blues have signed a replacement for Caleb Tangitau (if he hasn’t been let go to make room for Barrett) yet, or whether Reiko is going on sabbatical and/or will remain in the squad. With exciting young French player Xavi Taele looking destined for higher honors in black, talented breakthrough rookie Cory Evan’s, and a couple of utilities, in AJ Lam and Bryce Heem(even Clarke?), all trying to learn the midfield trade, Williams could be a great aid. The Blues signed key English center Joe Marchant before he was raised to that level, and were possibly in the hunt to bring back the dependable Tele’a from the Highlanders. Possible the main squeeze which would put to bed any signing here would be the battle at 10 with Beauden’s return, and the forcing of Plummer back into the midfield. Hurricanes - Jordie Barrett is off to Leinster for a sabbatical next year but the more likely signing would be Billy’s brother back in the team. The Hurricanes are light on the outside with the loss of Salesi Rayasi to the Top 14 and if no quality is found to back up Kini Naholo, the midfield of Sullivan or Proctors could find themselves on the wing and space for a leader to show the Hurricanes three All Black midfield hopefuls (Higgins, Proctor, Umaga-Jensen) how its done. Highlanders - Rotation is high as usual at the Highlanders and versatility remains a strength with a lot of the squad. With compatriot Rhys Patchell signing a move to the JRLO, the passing of outside back Connor Garden-Bachop, and confirmed departure of Argentine wing Martin Bogado, the versatility of many of the young backups in the squad could see a veteran 12 like Williams being a strong partner for the robust Tele’a. With hope that the other Umaga-Jensen brother can force him out of the starting lineup, and shifting the sides general Sam Gilbert back into 10, the off-contract midfielder might seen as the perfect option for a squad still looking to fill one back spot.

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