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Why last week’s surprising loss to Reds was ‘good’ for Chiefs

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Andy Jackson/Getty Images)

The Chiefs may have lost their first game of the Super Rugby Pacific season last weekend, but they aren’t exactly panicking – in fact, they’re taking plenty of positives out of the defeat.


As American basketball coach Morgan Wootten famously said, “You learn more from winning than losing.” That’s exactly how the Chiefs are dealing with their surprising round 12 loss.

Last Friday in New Plymouth, the Queensland Reds stunned the previously unbeaten Chiefs 25-22. Replacement Tyrone Thompson attempted to win it at the death, but was held up by the valiant Reds defence.

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With five pumps of the whistle, referee Paul Williams officially brought the thrilling trans-Tasman clash to a close.

Chiefs players dropped their heads, some even fell to the ground – meanwhile, the Reds burst into frenzy as they began to significance of the victory following a tough campaign.

Chiefs centre Alex Nankivell explained why the three-point loss was “probably good” for the ladder-leaders ahead of the knockout stage of the competition.

“It’s probably good timing for a bit of a grounding moment,” Nankivell told SENZ Breakfast.


“If we had of won that you might not take the same lessons going forward and especially at this time, we’ve only got three games left.


“The coaches made it pretty clear not to call anyone out, it was about the boys getting better and ultimately get a win this week and continue our process towards our goal at the end of the year.”

But a week is a long time in rugby. For both the Chiefs and Reds, they can’t afford to dwell on the past.

The Chiefs are preparing to host the high-flying Hurricanes in Hamilton on Saturday, as the race for top four spots continues to heat up in the business end of the season.


“Obviously it’s going to be challenging against the ‘Canes this week, so we need to be a bit better than we were against the Reds,’ Nankivell added.

“It’s always good to challenge yourself against the best in the comp and the world some would say.”

The Hurricanes are missing some key players though, with captain Ardie Savea, Jordie Barrett and Tyrel Lomax all mixing the round 13 clash due to the All Blacks’ resting policy.


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