Chiefs duo Aaron Cruden and Anton Lienert-Brown have vowed to produce a better performance than what their side mustered in their last-gasp 28-27 defeat to the Highlanders in the opening match of Super Rugby Aotearoa on Saturday.
A 79th minute drop goal from reserve Highlanders first-five Bryn Gatland gave the hosts a dramatic first-up win in the competition against the side coached by his father Warren in front of a boisterous home crowd under the roof of Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.
However, Lienert-Brown believes his team need to do better if they’re to overcome a Blues side that is riding high on confidence following the debut of All Blacks star Beauden Barrett in the Auckland club’s 30-20 win over the Hurricanes at a sold-out Eden Park on Sunday.
“It was a feeling of frustration,” Lienert-Brown told Stuff on Tuesday. “We were our own worst enemies.
“We’re a much better side than that and to come away with a narrow loss in the end is really disappointing.”
Cruden doubled down on Lienert-Brown’s sentiments, although he told Newshub he was confident that the two-time Super Rugby champions would be able to resurrect themselves ahead of Saturday’s derby at FMG Stadium Waikato.
“Sometimes after a loss, you can overthink things, but for us, we’re certainly aware of a few areas that we didn’t quite get right.
“If we can tidy those up, and tweak them here or there, that should help us be a bit more clinical on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.”
The dual playmaking threat posed by fullback Barrett and in-form first-five Otere Black wasn’t lost on either Cruden or Lienert-Brown.
“It makes them really balanced,” Cruden told Newshub. “We just have to limit their opportunities, limit their time on the ball and if we can do that, hopefully things might be able to flow for us a bit better.”
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