Chiefs looking to turn the heat up




It is likely to get very hot when the Cheetahs host the Chiefs in a Super 14 Round Five match in Bloemfontein on Friday. But it has nothing to do with the weather.

The official weather report talks electrical storms, with a high above 30’C and a “low” of only 16’C.

But it is on the field where the real “thunder and lightning” will take place.

Chiefs wing Lelia Masaga has revealed that the New Zealand franchise plans to “turn up the heat” on the Cheetahs as the search their first win of the season. With five bonus points – four of those for losing matches by seven points or less – they are hovering third from the bottom on the table.

But they believe they know how to end their own drought.

“We’ve just got to make sure we come home with a win,” Masaga told Evan Pegden of the Waikato Times.

“Everybody has been doing a lot of analysis on the Cheetahs. It’s pretty important that we attack it with front-foot ball from the forwards and the first 10 minutes are going to be pretty important.”

The attitude to the last 10 minutes goes without saying after the Bulls snatched victory away from the Chiefs with a try after the final hooter in Pretoria.

“It was pretty gutting. That [try] just took everything out of us. We just got caught a bit short on defence right at the end there but we’re all good and determined to win this next one before we return home.”

Masaga said the Chiefs were determined to get a win before coming back to New Zealand, though personally he was enjoying his opportunities after getting his first three starts in Super 14.

“It’s a lot hotter over here than in New Zealand, but I’m really enjoying it. It’s a different feeling and experience.”

He said he had tried to grab the opportunity he had been presented with through the absence of reconditioning All Blacks Sitiveni Sivivatu and Mils Muliaina and the season-ending broken neck suffered by Sosene Anesi.

“I’ve still got a lot of work to do yet and have a lot to learn but I am learning from all the other players and they’re helping a lot during the game with what lines to run etc, especially when I’m really tired.

“The pace of the game at this level is very fast and a lot different to club. But I love that. A fast game is a good game.”

Masaga is fast and he has lit up the field several times already, first as a replacement and now as a starter for the Chiefs. However, he admits he did not make the most of his first Super 14 start against the Hurricanes nearly three weeks ago, failing to produce the upbeat tempo in his game that he had shown when he had come off the bench.

“My first start was pretty difficult. I got a little bit of input from the coaches and senior players to be a bit more alive on the field. I just had to wake up and get involved.”

365 Digital

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