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Rennie : Chiefs have better momentum

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Chiefs coach Dave Rennie admits that he is short of players through a horrendous injury list but he believes they are capable of beating the Stormers in their Super Rugby quarter-final on Saturday in Cape Town.

Rennie says that he believes the side is better placed than in the last two years at the playoffs stage.

“We’ve stumbled at this stage in the last two years, we’re certainly well aware of that but to be honest I think we’re in a better space and we’ve got better momentum,” said Rennie on the All Blacks site.

“We were pretty disappointed with last week as we showed with the review. We had so many opportunities when we should have got the ball over the line. We weren’t clinical enough but I thought we went pretty well up front and we defended well so it was disappointing we didn’t get the result we wanted and because of that we’re overseas.

“We’ll certainly take the field knowing it’s a real lift in intensity but we’ve prepared well and we’ve got a good enough side to do the job if we play well enough,” he said.

The Chiefs were disappointed with the non-eligibility of Liam Messam and it had reduced their loose forward options on the bench.

The choice of Stephen Donald at second five-eighths was the result of the absence of Charlie Ngatai, Seta Tamanivalu and Andrew Horrell, but also his experience.

“He’s really clear on our structures and I think he’ll certainly help Aaron (Cruden) out and again he’s prepared really well and we’ve got a lot of confidence in him. While he doesn’t have a big history of playing 12 (second five-eighths), we’re confident he can do the job.

“They’ve got a very good midfield and they will certainly challenge us but one thing we know with Beaver (Donald) is he’s experienced,” Rennie said.

Sam McNicholl would cover if there were injuries in midfield.

Not having played any New Zealand sides the Stormers were something of an unknown in terms of how competitive they have had to be on the other side of the draw.

“We’ve had to do a lot of homework in a hurry and we spent most of the flight over here doing that and obviously we’ve got a little bit of historical data, we’ve played them a number of times so there’s some real consistency there.

“They’re a big side with a really strong set piece and have got a pretty big backline with a lot of gas.

“We’ve prepared well and we know we are going to have to defend really well. They carry strong, they latch on and force you to make a lot of tackles so it is going to be a pretty abrasive game I think.

“We’ve talked a lot about how you lift in intensity when you go into play-offs footy so we’re well prepared, we know what the enemy is going to bring and our job now is to be good enough to deal with that,” he said.

The emphasis for the Chiefs had been on seeking areas in their defensive structure that might provide opportunities.

“They have an absolute wall in front of you, and they get off the line and they belt you so we’re going to have to be pretty sharp,” he said.

“We’ve got a lot of respect for the Stormers, they are always hard to beat in Cape Town.”

And while he had won one and lost one in his previous visits, he said, everything that had happened before counted for little.

“We hope that the tough footy we have had to play week in and week out will help but what we know with this side is that they have got so many athletes, so much firepower and playing in front of 40,000 people here on Saturday I know they are going to lift to another level. It will be a good challenge,” he said.

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