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Slow starts frustrate Chiefs coach Dave Rennie

Chiefs coaches Wayne Smith and Dave Rennie have been frustrated by their slow starts

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Article Published: Tuesday 8 April 2014|

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie has admitted that the slow starts his team has made in their last two matches have made him and his coaching assistants "grumpy".

Super Rugby champions the Chiefs have drawn their last two matches and in both matches they trailed at half time but made stirring late comebacks to level the scores.

The Chiefs left South Africa with six points in the standings from two bonus point draws but they know that had they started playing earlier in the matches they could have won both.

While a draw in Pretoria against the Bulls at fortress Loftus Versfeld is respectable the Chiefs should have beaten the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein as at the time they were the lowest ranked team.

After trailing 34-10 at half time the Chiefs scored five unanswered tries in the second half against the Cheetahs and levelled the scores on full time.

"It's fair to say we're pretty grumpy about how we played the first half," Rennie told Fairfax.

"We lost the 50/50 battles, lost a lot of ball on the deck, we tackled poorly, didn't get a lot of go-forward and never really were able to build any pressure."

Rennie said that while their second half performance was clinical the overall performance was frustrating as it was a match that, "we should have won and won easily".

"The media in Bloemfontein were in raptures about our comeback but we were probably the total opposite and more concerned with how poorly we started and why and we'll certainly ask those questions in the next couple of days."

Rennie said that there was not much from the Chiefs half time team talk that could be printed.

"The boys were challenged in around what they said they were going to deliver and what they were delivering in a number of areas.

"To their credit they did respond but it shouldn't take a halftime fire-up to get us going so that needs to be better," Rennie said.

Rennie said that it was positive that they took three points from the match but it is easy to lulled into thinking that they had a "hell of a comeback" from where they were at half time but the fact is that it was done against a team that had been really stretched defensively and conceded six tries.

"We allowed them to play the way they did in the first half. We didn't have any dominance in our tackles, we allowed them to go forward and keep the ball alive and they did it really well."

The Chiefs had 8 per cent of possession in the first half and the Chiefs missed 16 tackles in the half which is why the Cheetahs had the four try bonus point by the 38th minute.

In the second half the Chiefs brought on props Jamie Mackintosh and Josh Hohneck in place of Pauliasi Manu and Ben Tameifuna and halfback Augustine Pulu who scored one of their second half tries.

Once the Chiefs got their game rolling it was only Johan Goosen's boot that kept them in the game as the Chiefs were heavily penalised at the scrum.

"They tended to stand straight up, drove up and we got penalised for that, which was a little tough to stomach at times, but the attitude was way better, we got off the line and started belting them defensively, we carried stronger, got quicker ball and kept it alive.

"All the things we talked about doing prior to the game and obviously the second half was pretty clinical, I think we won it 33-9.

"One of the key things we said to the guys at halftime was that we know we're good enough to win this and in the end it was only 24 points and you can get 24 points quite quick."

"So we always believed we could do it," he said.

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