It’s fair to say that the Chiefs’ season hasn’t quite gone to plan as yet. Staring down the barrel of a fourth consecutive loss, forwards coach Neil Barnes says the side have had some honest and frank conversations ahead of their upcoming game against the Crusaders.

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“We have pretty high expectations of ourselves, so we are annoyed. It’s not like you have to reinvent the wheel, but we are pretty p**sed off with ourselves for letting our opportunities go that we had.”

The Chiefs entered the Super Rugby Aotearoa competition as joint-favourites with their Sunday opposition but after falling to two defeats, are now on the cusp of being all but eliminated from contention.

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Crusaders captain Scott Barrett is set to undergo surgery.

Barnes’ side failed to build scoreboard pressure against the Highlanders and the Blues and were guilty of coughing up possession at key moments throughout both games. They scored two tries under the roof in Dunedin but had to settle for just four penalties at home against the top-of-the-table Blues.

“We have had a reasonable amount of chances where we have got to the right place on the field and we have messed them up,” Barnes said.
“So, it’s about us and our detail and all our games so far have been pretty tight. If you don’t nail those opportunities straight up, you come second.”

Despite the Crusaders easily disposing of the Hurricanes on Saturday – who the Chiefs also lost to during the regular Super Rugby season held before the Coronavirus-enforced suspension of the competition – Barnes and the rest of the organisation are not too concerned with their opponents for this Sunday’s match.

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“We have a massive amount of respect for them [Crusaders] they are a very good team, but we certainly don’t fear them,” said Barnes. “We just know that we have to be at our best. We are going to have to go really well.”

Meanwhile, Barnes was hopeful that skipper Sam Cane would be fit for to play against the Crusaders.

“It’s one of those ones where we’ll see how he scrubs up after he’s done a full session. If he’s 100%, he’s likely to be in it, if he’s still a bit sore we won’t risk it.”

The Chiefs will announce their team later today.

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