Flash starting to shine for Chiefs


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Chiefs wing Leila Masaga has the nickname “Flash” and he showed against the Highlanders why he has the name after scoring two tries helping his side to a 39-24 victory.

In his third year with the Chiefs Masaga,21, has had some work to do to stay on the team sheet as the Chiefs have no shortage of wing talent with Sitiveni Sivivatu, Sosene Anesi and Vili Waqaseduadua in their ranks.

Masaga’s not the biggest wing which meant that he had his hands full with Highlanders blockbuster Fetu’u Vainikolo winger opposite him but Masaga certainly got a pass mark.

Chiefs coach Ian Foster says that the Chiefs finally have some momentum which he has been demanding all season. It seems to be a Chiefs trait that they start slowly and then make a late charge for the play offs.

“It wasn’t perfect but it was a continuation of the start we got last week,” said Foster on Rugbyheaven, not wanting to get too carried away.

“It was good to back it up.”

Foster was equally thoughtful on his choice of words over Masaga who, like his team, he sees as a bit of work in progress but heading in the right direction. “His first year he was just a boy really,” noted Foster.

“Last year he got a lot of chances to play and scored a lot of tries but there were some raw edges to his game.

“But this year he is playing with a lot of maturity.

“It’s not the hardest role to fill when you have Mils [Muliaina] and Siti [Sivivatu] in that back three helping you out and I think it is a real team effort there.

“But he is certainly eliminating a lot of the errors that he made last year defensively under the high ball. The rest of his game is pretty special. He is great on his feet – I taught him nothing about his sidestep.”

“Quite frankly I think he has still got a way to go. But he is showing a lot of signs – he put together a good campaign last year and he is in the process of putting together a good campaign this year.

“He still has a lot of learning to do,” said Foster.

Masaga’s form comes just at the right time for the All Black’s after Doug Howlett and Rico Gear moved overseas – competition for places is always a good thing.

Foster says that it’s a bit soon to be talking his team up as a play off contender even though they are better placed this year than last year and said of his team’s performance against the Highlanders,

“I was really pleased with the tempo of the first 20-25 minutes and the width of our game was nice,” said Foster.

Foster said that he has sympathy for the Highlanders and believes they are doing well in their rebuilding phase.

He also predicted that they will do well against the South Africa sides. Highlanders coach Glenn Moore said they were targeting Friday’s match against the Lions as the best chance to break their duck.


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