Gatland wants Chiefs to 'play smarter' to clock up win over Highlanders

By Micah Thompson

The Chiefs are searching for a first win of the new super rugby competition against the Highlanders this Sunday afternoon in Hamilton.

The Highlanders won the last outing between the teams in Dunedin in round one but only by a single point, 28-27, and it remains their only victory of the competition.

History suggests this will be another close contest between the two bottom-placed teams, although the Chiefs are favourites to close out the Highlanders for the home town win.

Chiefs coach Warren Gatland says he is fully aware that it is a results-based sport and that his team has to do much better.

"We've just got to be smarter in terms of respecting the ball, limiting the number of turnovers and then it'll come for us," he says.

"I'm disappointed with where we're at. We probably should have won two or three of those games and still been in this competition.

"We've got to go out there perform and win on Sunday."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger told superrugby.co.nz he is also looking for improvement from his team.

“We have had our chances in every game we’ve played and the guys are working at getting better every time they run out, we are all aware the standard of play in this competition is extremely high and  you need your very best against any team."

The normally free-flowing Chiefs have only managed to score five tries this season and one of those was a penalty try. They come into Sunday's game fresh from a bye last week and will be keen to return to winning ways.

Kick-off is at 3:35pm at FMG Stadium Waikato.

Chiefs

1. Aidan Ross 2. Bradley Slater 3. Nepo Laulala 4. Tupou Vaa’i 5. Mitchell Brown 6. Lachlan Boshier 7. Sam Cane © 8. Pita Gus Sowakula 9. Brad Weber 10. Kaleb Trask 11. Solomon Alaimalo 12. Alex Nankivell 13. Anton Lienert-Brown 14. Sean Wainui 15. Damian McKenzie

Reserves: 16. Samisoni Taukei’aho 17. Reuben O’Neill 18. Ross Geldenhuys 19. Adam Thompson 20. Mitchell Karpik 21. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi 22. Aaron Cruden 23. Quinn Tupaea

Highlanders 

1. Ayden Johnstone 2. Ash Dixon (cc) 3. Siate Tokolahi 4. Paripari Parkinson 5. Jack Whetton 6. Shannon Frizell 7. Dillon Hunt 8. Marino Mikaele-Tu’u 9. Aaron Smith (cc) 10. Mitch Hunt 11. Scott Gregory 12. Patelesio Tomkinson 13. Rob Thompson 14. Josh McKay 15. Michael Collins

Reserves: 16. Liam Coltman 17. Ethan De Groot 18. Jeff Thwaites 19. Manaaki Selby-Rickit 20. Jesse Parete 21. Folau Fakatava 22. Josh Ioane 23. Jona Nareki