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Colin Cooper on whether Damian McKenzie will keep playing fullback after Chiefs emphatic win

The Chiefs have won their first game of the season with an emphatic 56-20 win over the Bulls, their first in Pretoria since 2001 and their largest victory over the South African franchise.

“The expectation back home at the Chiefs is, you should be winning every game and we haven’t had a win,” Chiefs head coach Colin Cooper explained post-match.

“I guess when the team puts it together like we did today, it explains why those expectations are very high on the Chiefs.

“Led by Brodie they just played so well. Things stuck, we got offloads away and sped the game up.

Crucial to the Chiefs first win of the season was fullback Damian McKenzie, who had another stellar performance in the 15 jersey, lodging three try assists and scoring a personal tally of 21 points in the win.

Cooper reiterated that McKenzie’s versatility is an asset for the Chiefs and that the All Black will play wherever best suits the needs of the team.

“Damian plays both, 15 and 10, and the Chiefs will use him where we think he fits with us. He could be moved back to 10 or could stay at fullback so we will make that decision on who we play and how the form is of our other 10’s.

After starting the season 0-4, the Chiefs fought hard for a 23-23 draw against the Hurricanes last week which Cooper says has built belief within the squad.

“We’ve had a number of players unavailable, injuries and lost a lot of experience from last year. It takes time, it’s a pretty unforgiving stage, Super Rugby.

“Last week we got a lot of belief.”

Captain Brodie Retallick felt that the tour to South Africa has come at the right time, allowing the team to bond together and rectify some of the issues they have struggled with.

“I felt like the last couple of weeks we have been improving, coming off the draw last week is a good time to come away and connect as a team. It gave us an opportunity to sort some of the smaller stuff out that we have been missing,” Retallick said.

“I’ve played here before and it’s very tough. To get a win like that and play some exciting rugby, see the boys smiling and having fun, it’s hugely satisfying.”

The seven tries to two victory on the road could be the turning point for the Chiefs season, highlighting the potential within the team.

Bulls coach after loss to Chiefs:

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Colin Cooper on whether Damian McKenzie will keep playing fullback after Chiefs emphatic win