Hertford Highlander

The Chiefs deserve to be top of the log

Written by Gwyn Pratley (Hertford Highlander)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 21 Apr 2012 at 06:37
Tagged with : , , , , , , ,

As I sat scratching my head last night at the law interpretations of the man in the middle ruling one way then the other. I had an epiphany – The Chiefs deserve to be top of the log.


Well for starters they use the ball and don’t rely on an aging whistle blower to eventually see it their way and reward them a penalty for something few understand, let alone actually see.

‘Sealing it off’ Penalty! ‘Not supporting your body weight’ Penalty! ‘Squeeze Ball’ Penalty!

These are just some of the totally random calls that keep the players and spectators in a state of bemusement.

Last night Mike Delaney and Gareth Anscombe due to their specific skill set reduced the Highlanders versus Blues match to a penalty shoot-out. The crowd watched on as the Highlanders won a thriller but in all reality it should have been a 30-30 draw as arguably New Zealand’s best goal kicker Gareth Anscombe turned down a shot in front in a last ditched attempt for the Blues to win with time up on the dodgy local clock.

Tonight at the Shark-Tank fans should be warned that they will be abruptly woken from their Super 15 slumber if they have fallen into the trap as last night’s crowd had of cheering the referees whistle and not the play itself.

Be warned the Chiefs can seriously play, they don’t just play territory – but they can, they don’t just wined down the clock with boring forward orientated seal-off’s, that somehow become legal in the last 10 minutes of each half – but they can, they don’t just fall back on their set pieces to dominate or disrupt – but they can.

What they do is play rugby – yes an obvious statement but in this year’s SupeRugby competition a fact that has been seriously missing from most coaches and players approach to the game. Dave Rennie and the world’s best attack coach Wayne Smith have breathed new life into the once flaky Waikato based franchise.

The Chiefs from 1 to 22 play right across the park from all phases of the game – not just as team’s like the Stormers do when they receive turnover ball. Led by a Sonny Bill Williams off-loading ethos that created such a storm last year – the off-load has become a mantra for the Chiefs class of 2012. Tonight forget about Sonny Bill Williams being a threat or Richard Kahui or Lelia Masaga.


Because the perceived off-loading threat of SBW is just as likely to be evident from Brodie Retallick, Craig Clarke or Ben Tameifuna.

Rennie and his back-up team have once again wisely rotated some of the troops. Brilliant young flanker Sam Cane is back in the run on fifteen. The Samoan captain Mahonri Schwalger takes over at hooker to nullify the threat of the returning Bismarck Du Plessis and Asaeli Tikoirotuma starts on the left wing with Jackson Willison coming onto the bench.

Many of the Sharks faithful will arrive at the ground tonight in the hope of seeing players of the ilk of SBW light up Kings Park however, what they may leave with is an appreciation of the attacking prowess of an entire 22 man Chiefs squad.

Chiefs: Andrew Horrell, Lelia Masaga, Richard Kahui, Sonny Bill Williams, Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Aaron Cruden, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Alex Bradley, Same Cane, Liam Messam, Brodie Retallick, Craig Clarke, Ben Tameifuna, Mahonri Schwalger, Arizona Taumalolo. Reserves: Hika Elliott, Josh Hohneck, Michael Fitzgerald, Tanerau Latimer, Augustine Pulu, Jackson Willison, Robbie Robinson.


  • Maybe not top of the log, but certainly top of the NZ log.

    Chiefs v Stormers final is my call.

    The Sharks are almost in a must win situation to keep their play-off chances alive, so they will be dangerous……(Screeeeeeech. stop the bus) No they won’t!!! They will be frantic and that will cause panic and that will cause a MAJOR implosion.

    I’m sorry but our play-off hopes end tonight. Not because of a lack of quality players but because of a lack of commitment and mental strength.

  • Comment 1, posted at 21.04.12 07:05:20 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • SBW is important in a team but to me not for the reason everyone will have you believe.

    Last year the Crusaders were amazing with SBW in the team and all the players trying (and a lot succeeding) to emulate his ability to keep the ball alive rather than dying with it in the tackle.

    This year that desire to keep the ball alive has left Christchurch and travelled with SBW to the Chiefs.

    That is where his importance lies. His ball skills are good but they are not that good. His real skill lies in “infecting” the other players with his style.

  • Comment 2, posted at 21.04.12 07:11:23 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 2) : Well said 😎

  • Comment 3, posted at 21.04.12 08:20:10 by JarsonX Reply
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  • Why didnt I get the memo that the Chiefs will win tonight before I made my SB picks? 🙄

  • Comment 4, posted at 21.04.12 08:21:50 by JarsonX Reply
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  • @JarsonX (Comment 4) : Fell into the age old trap hey?
    We spend all saturday and sunday bemoaning the fact that our team ” lacks intensity, makes silly mistakes, just aren`t where they`re supposed to be etc . . . ”
    but come Wednesday or Thursday we start talking up the lads.
    ” Not a bad team Plum selected there . .. That mid-field have so much potential, We`re due to have a big one ”

    Inevitable SB calls are made with the heart when it comes to the Sharks and suddenly BAM! Reality is a 55 % win ratio for you on SB! 😈

    @KSA Shark © (Comment 1) : Agreed.
    In a way, and I know I shouldn`t say this, but I`ll be relieved.
    What`s the use of sneaking in the back door, travelling all the way to Christchurch just to get our hopes dashed again?

    If we miss the play-offs completely maybe, just maybe someone in management will do something about our dismal Super rugby performance.

  • Comment 5, posted at 21.04.12 08:45:21 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • Can’t believe the negativity on here about the Sharks’ chances of victory! we CAN do it… how about a little belief in your (supposed) team? 👿

  • Comment 6, posted at 21.04.12 08:45:54 by Greg Reply

  • @Original Pierre (Comment 5) : I went with the Sharks in every one of their games thus far. 9 from 9 is a new record for me 😈

  • Comment 7, posted at 21.04.12 08:52:42 by JarsonX Reply
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  • @Greg (Comment 6) : See my sarcasm in comment 4 😛 I still have faith 😈

  • Comment 8, posted at 21.04.12 08:54:58 by JarsonX Reply
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  • @Greg (Comment 6) : Greg you put the supposed in exactly the right spot there.

    Currently that is exactly what they are. A supposed team.

  • Comment 9, posted at 21.04.12 09:11:41 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Sharks to take this one 32-23

  • Comment 10, posted at 21.04.12 09:22:40 by juba_fan Reply

  • Sharks can do it – but it will need an 85 minute game from them – not patches here and there

    And they need to stop conceding points immediately after scoring

    Scrums and lineouts need to be 100% – especially when we get into the oppo 22

  • Comment 11, posted at 21.04.12 09:39:28 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 9) : In fact the position of “supposed” follows the word ‘your’ and thus relates to the idea of being a fan rather than the team itself. It’s beyond my comprehension that anyone who alleges to support any team in any sporting code would write off their chances before a match has taken place! It makes me think of the ‘B-section’ days and those who attended Natal (as they were then) games; it’s such supporters who are truly deserving of the name “faithful”. The current situation can hardly be compared to those times though; having a 50% win/loss record in the toughest provincial competition in world rugby: makes you wonder how many of the current fan-base would still wear the black and white proudly were we struggling to re-establish ourselves in the top flight of rugby. ❗

  • Comment 12, posted at 21.04.12 10:41:06 by Greg Reply

  • @Greg (Comment 12) : If these guys played their hearts out and lost I’d have no issues. The thing is they DON’T play their hearts out.

    Just 1 example, being beaten by a player on a sidestep or dummy I can forgive, actually it doesn’t even need forgiving, because the guy was beaten by a better man, but at the end of a game when you need to tighten things up to then let a player run at you, you get a hand on him comfortably but he still gets past without even needing to hand you off???? My tap has more heart than that.

    A 2nd example is repeated “mistakes” by some players. Learn from your mistake the 1st time around, don’t let your flab pull you down onto a ruck next time you join one.

    I still support the Sharks and always will, but should I lie to myself and say “we are going to win today” when I don’t believe we are?

  • Comment 13, posted at 21.04.12 11:18:23 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 13) : We’ve all heard, at one point or another, the concept espoused by all the motivational gurus: if you believe you are beaten then you already are!
    I totally agree about all the perceived and real shortcomings in team performance this year. All that we, as fans, can do (IMHO), is to put our support 100% behind the boys to deliver that elusive ‘complete’ performance on the field. That’s what I intend to do today. “V for Victory” (flashes the Winston Churchill V-sign 😉 )

  • Comment 14, posted at 21.04.12 11:53:27 by Greg Reply

  • HH are you trying to tell us something … :mrgreen: hehe.

    I doubt this Chief side would beat the Saders AGAIN or the Stormers at Newlands or the Bulls at Loftus. Sharks too could beat them tonight… 😛

  • Comment 15, posted at 21.04.12 13:54:22 by Puma Reply

  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 1) : Don’t be so pessimistic man, the team has not even played yet. Sure we have not been great and should have won more games, but the players don’t want to read that before a game. So hope they not reading here today.

    Let us get behind them for this very important game instead of slating them.

    Go Sharks, I believe we will win today. Good luck boys make us proud.

  • Comment 16, posted at 21.04.12 14:02:25 by Puma Reply

  • @Greg (Comment 14) : Excellent post buddy. Well said.

  • Comment 17, posted at 21.04.12 14:03:25 by Puma Reply

  • Our biggest worry today is the ref. He is a kiwi so hoping he blows a fair game.

  • Comment 18, posted at 21.04.12 14:04:36 by Puma Reply


  • Comment 19, posted at 21.04.12 14:13:06 by juba_fan Reply

  • I agree 100% with KSA’s posts. We as fans are still and will always be behind our team, the difference being at this stage we are hoping for a win instead of expecting one.

    The Sharks may win today, but it will not mean our concerns about the team has been put to rest.

    Being a true supporter I want my team to be at their best at all times. Of course if it does not turn out to be the case, I grumble and keep on supporting.

    The flip side of the coin is that if a team want true supporters, they should repay those loyal fans by giving their all.

    Now go and destroy the Chiefs Sharkies, make “Injuns” outta them! 😀

  • Comment 20, posted at 21.04.12 14:32:57 by Silver Fox Reply

    Silver Fox
  • @Silver Fox (Comment 20) : having issues with the way your team is playing is one thing mate, but giving them no chance whatsoever (zip, zero, nada!) to win at home is another entirely! quite shocked to see that on a supporters blog in fact 😯
    I’m off to the Shark tank now anyway… Sharks forever! 😎

  • Comment 21, posted at 21.04.12 14:38:27 by Greg Reply

  • @Greg (Comment 21) :100% correct. Agree with you Greg.

    Enjoy the game buddy. We here all have our Sharks shirts on and will be off to watch at the pub. But we all 100% behind our boys.

    Sharks forever for sure. Black and White nothing else matters… 😎

  • Comment 22, posted at 21.04.12 14:52:17 by Puma Reply


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