Chiefs target fast start against Waratahs

Wed, Mar 4, 2020, 5:29 AM
by AAP
Warren Gatland says his team will need a fast start against the Waratahs. Photo: GEtty Images
Warren Gatland says his team will need a fast start against the Waratahs. Photo: GEtty Images

Chiefs coach Warren Gatland is demanding better from the opening whistle if they're to notch a long-awaited Super Rugby win in New South Wales.

Gatland named a Chiefs side down on scrummaging power following an illness to Test prop Atu Moli but he believes they'll be mentally primed for Friday's match against the Waratahs in Wollongong.

The veteran coach was a Chiefs technical advisor when they last tasted victory away to the Waratahs in 2007.

They've lost their last four on the trot in Sydney and the Kiwi side risk a continuation if they continue a pattern of conceding early points.

It didn't count against them when fighting back to beat the Blues, Crusaders and Sunwolves but the gap was too big in their last-start 26-14 loss to an inspired Brumbies in Hamilton two weeks ago.

"We realise it's pretty hard to go through this tournament undefeated but the focus has been on us starting well," Gatland told journalists.

"We've looked strong in the second halves. We feel like we're in good shape physically and good shape conditioning-wise... it's about not panicking too much."

While the Chiefs have ruminated over a first loss for the season, the 1-3 Waratahs are coming off a first win, over the Lions.

Gatland believes the key to closing down Rob Penney's team is muscularity at collision time.

"We've spoken about bringing a physical element to the Waratahs in terms of the breakdown because the players they have do thrive on quick ball," he said.

Moli was ruled out with illness, joining fellow-All Blacks front rowers Nepo Laulala and Angus Ta'avao on the injury list.

Prop Ross Geldenhuys will make his first start of the season in one of 10 personnel or positional changes to Gatland's XV.

Five-eighth Aaron Cruden is the only starting back to run out with the same jersey number as their last game, with the resting of fullback Damian McKenzie the most notable change.

The Waratahs named their team for the match on Wednesday.

The Waratahs take on the Chiefs on Friday March 6 at WIN Stadium Wollongong, kicking off at 7:15pm AEDT, LIVE on Foxtel, Kayo Sports and via RADIO. The Brumbies take on the Sunwolves at the same ground earlier in the day, kicking off at 2:45pm AEDT, LIVE on Foxtel, Kayo Sports and via RADIO. Buy tickets here.


Chiefs to face Waratahs

1. Aidan Ross (29)

2. Samisoni Taukei’aho (26)

3. Ross Geldenhuys (3)

4. Michael Allardice (43)

5. Tyler Ardron (29)

6. Lachlan Boshier (47)

7. Sam Cane (114) ©

8. Pita Gus Sowakula (18)

9. Brad Weber (75)

10. Aaron Cruden (92)

11. Sean Wainui (29)

12. Anton Lienert-Brown (72)

13. Tumua Manu (16)

14. Shaun Stevenson (46)

15. Solomon Alaimalo (41)


16. Donald Maka**

17. Ryan Coxon (4)

18. Reuben O’Neill (2)

19. Naitoa Ah Kuoi (4)

20. Mitchell Karpik (23)

21. Lisati Milo-Harris (1)

22. Kaleb Trask (3)

23. Alex Nankivell (26)


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