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Former All Black breaks down why the Chiefs are 'the complete package'

By Ned Lester
Luke Jacobson leads the Chiefs out of the tunnel. Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

The Chiefs have hit the ground running in 2024, much like they did in 2023, claiming big wins over premier teams to begin the new Super Rugby Pacific season where they finished the last – atop the table.

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The absence of veterans from last year’s campaign in Sam Cane, Brodie Retallick and Brad Weber doesn’t appear to have dampened the team’s form in the slightest.

A near second-half collapse against the Crusaders in round one’s final rematch could be interpreted as inexperience, but to secure a slim win with two late penalties and then put in a relentless performance against the Brumbies proved the character of the team and their new leadership group.

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The next challenge comes in the form of the Reds, who were the only team to best the Chiefs during the 2023 regular season. That result is very unlikely to repeat itself according to one Kiwi pundit.

“I think they’re the complete package at the moment, they’re putting up some world-class numbers,” Former All Black James Parsons told the Aotearoa Rugby Pod.

“On the attacking side, they had 16 clean breaks, 50 per cent gain line success, so one out of two carries they’re getting across the gain line and the other ones are probably neutral, there’s not many going backwards.

“They’re clinical around the breakdown, they’ve got quick ball and they’ve got the skillset to punish defences because they don’t let them set.

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“And then defensively, they forced 19 turnovers, they tackled at 94 per cent, and the key stat is 34 per cent gain line for the Brumbies. So again, more times than not, they are shutting them down behind that advantage line which would be forcing them either to kick not on their terms or forcing an error.

“The only thing they’d probably be disappointed in were a few tries they butchered.

“I do want to make a comparison, when they won in 2013 and ’14, they were the team that kicked the most, and it was the same on the weekend. They kicked 33 times, it was the most of anyone across Super Round, and it’s almost their DNA.

“And it’s not just long, tactical kicks, there’s a lot of contestable and attacking kicks but using the ball on the boot is a big weapon for them.”

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