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Chiefs looking for missing Super Rugby spark

Chiefs assistant coach Wayne Smith

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Article Published: Tuesday 1 July 2014|

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Super Rugby champions the Chiefs hopes of winning a third straight title are hanging by a thread as they have lost four of their last six games and are bottom of the New Zealand Super Rugby Conference.

The Chiefs are still in with a chance of retaining their title but as they are in ninth place overall they need to find the spark that helped them win their last two titles.

The Chiefs lost 29-25 to the Highlanders at Dunedin in their last outing and this week in Hamilton they face the Hurricanes who humiliated them 45-8 in May.

Chiefs assistant coach Wayne Smith admits they their performances have dropped and this has coincided with other teams raising their game.

"So you drop slightly and other teams raise their game and you get the results we have had," Smith told Reuters.

"Again at the weekend we could have won that game, needed to win it but we didn't quite have it in us in the end."

The Chiefs looked like they were in a strong position at half time in the match against the Highlanders but the home side rallied in the second half and went on to win the match.

The Hamilton side now desperately need to beat the Hurricanes this week and then the Blues in the final round.

The Hurricanes will play their final match this weekend in Hamilton as they have a bye next week so they will be going all out to stay in contention and they demonstrated their determination last week by beating the Crusaders.

The Blues also kept their play off hopes alive by beating the Force in Perth.

Earlier in the season the Chiefs had an ability to close out matches at the death but this appears to have gone missing and their defence has frequently let opposition teams build leads on the scoreboard.

Smith is unsure about why they have let their general standards slip but is certain that they can get back to where they were.

"Outcome is always a complex thing and it's hard to put your finger on any one thing, but what I do know is that it can turn around really quickly," said Smith.

"I've been in a Crusaders team that did that. "

"Don't know why it turned around but it did and went from being hopeless to being unbeatable in a short space of time so I know it's only going to take one good result and we'll be back on the horse -- but it's getting pretty late in the season."

A loss against the Hurricanes this weekend will almost certainly kill off their chances of retaining their title and given the last result between the teams Smith said the Chiefs would be up for the challenge.

"It challenges your own personal pride in what you're doing so I think it is a huge game from that perspective," Smith added.

"It's our track this week, in front of our people against a team that gave us a hiding last time out and if you can't get up for that you won't get up for anything.

"We've got to make sure everyone leaves the stadium on Friday night, saying, 'yes, the Chiefs have really got that mana, got that spirit'."

 
 
 
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