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'Discipline' and 'dusty lineouts' the Chiefs' focus for Battle of the Bombays

By Ned Lester
Luke Jacobson of the Chiefs. Photo by Michael Bradley/Getty Images

Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan is gearing his side up for a playoffs warm-up clash in the final game of the Super Rugby Pacific regular season against the Blues, and insists there’s plenty of motivation despite being locked in as the fourth seed.

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For the Aucklanders, their top spot on the table is on the line as they share 51 competition points with the Hurricanes heading into the final round.

The Battle of the Bombays will send one of the two heavyweights into the playoffs with their confidence validated, and the other with their confidence dented. Both clubs come into the contest having lost derbies in round 14.

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Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula on being overlooked by NZ U20’s

Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula chats to Finn Morton about how he was overlooked but then had a blast with Fiji U20s in South Africa.

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Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula on being overlooked by NZ U20’s

Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula chats to Finn Morton about how he was overlooked but then had a blast with Fiji U20s in South Africa.

McMillan professed his excitement for the game: “We love playing the Blues. It doesn’t matter whether we play there or at home.

“It’s a game we always look forward to…We had a few dusty lineouts (on Friday), but the scrum was good, so there are some things that we can build off that will set us up well for what’s coming in the future.”

With Friday’s loss to the Hurricanes coming in the Hamilton club’s last home game of the regular season, the Chiefs are eager to give their fans something to cheer about this weekend, even from afar.

“It’s a big part of the reason why we go out there, and we didn’t quite get it done,” he said.

Discipline will be a big focus ahead of the playoffs after struggling in that respect against the Hurricanes. McMillan’s men also struggled to win the collision area.

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“That made us become ill-disciplined and gave them too much easy access into the game.

“It was nice to get a try early in the second half, boost the confidence. The margin became a lot smaller, and it stayed that way for the rest of the game.

“The reality was that we gave away too many penalties.

“Every time it looked like we were about to poke our head through the clouds and start getting that momentum ourselves, we’d do something a little silly and release that pressure valve.”

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Captain Luke Jacobson echoed his coach’s sentiment.

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“We got the brunt of the penalties which is not what we want,” the All Black said.

While for the Hurricanes, receiving a red card provided an edge and saw them lift their game, the Chiefs were unable to lift when flanker Kaylum Boshier was handed a yellow.

“We would have liked to have capitalised on that a lot more, but when you’ve got attacking footy like they did, they had a lot of the ball then, and on the back of ill-discipline from us, it makes it hard for us to play.

“They were able to hold onto the ball and play some good footy.”

Fixture
Super Rugby Pacific
Blues
31 - 17
Full-time
Chiefs
All Stats and Data

Ultimately, McMillan gave credit to the Wellington outfit for a hard-earned win.

“They’re a quality rugby team, and the second try they scored was good heads-up play around us being a man down and targeting a transition zone where we were a little bit thin. So you’ve got to give them credit for seeing those opportunities.

“Otherwise, the game was pretty tight and was swinging both ways at times. But, on the balance of things, we just didn’t have enough momentum.”

Watch the exclusive reveal-all episode of Walk the Talk with Ardie Savea as he chats to Jim Hamilton about the RWC 2023 experience, life in Japan, playing for the All Blacks and what the future holds. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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