23 Apr 2017

Chiefs must improve to be among contenders

12:22 pm on 23 April 2017

If the Chiefs are serious about winning the 2017 Super Rugby crown coach David Rennie knows they must be significantly better than what they showed in beating the Western Force.

Chiefs flanker Sam Cane.

Chiefs flanker Sam Cane. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Chiefs completed a three-week tour with a 16-7 win over the Force at nib Stadium after losing to the Stormers and beating the Cheetahs in South Africa.

The Force may never have seriously threatened the Chiefs, but they struggled to string phases together or deliver their usual crisp ball movement to set up tries.

For Rennie, that is unacceptable and it has to improve if they want to succeed in a New Zealand conference that currently has them behind the Crusaders and Hurricanes.

He hopes returning home for games against the Sunwolves and Queensland Reds before a potential season-definer against the Crusaders will sharpen them up again.

"It was a sub-standard performance in some key areas but we just have really high expectations and our mindset is that we have to be better than that if we have aspirations to win this competition," Rennie said.

"We have a couple of days to dust ourselves and have a crack against the Sunwolves. It's a chance at redemption for some and maybe an opportunity to get some fresh legs back in the side once we get home."

Chiefs co-captain Sam Cane always knew the Force would put up a strong showing with their Super Rugby future in jeopardy.

"Particularly over here there's a lot of talk about the future of Super Rugby in the media and any side that's under that sort of external pressure, the best thing they can do is come together and put performance on the park," Cane said.

"We knew they were coming off the bye and we experienced something similar against the Cheetahs the week before. It obviously means a lot to them because they played like it does out there."

The Chiefs scored just one try in the first half through Liam Messam and won on the back of three penalties from Aaron Cruden the second half.

Given they had averaged 30.4 points prior to Saturday night, the tally was eight fewer than their previous lowest score this season.

In this morning's South Africa derby, the Bulls beat the Cheetahs 20-14 in Pretoria.

The Sharks and Rebels have just played out a 9-all draw in Durban.

Christie cited

Chiefs halfback Finlay Christie has been cited for alleged foul play during last night's Super Rugby match.

Christie is alleged to have trampled or stamped on an opponent.

Upon review of the match footage, the Citing Commissioner has deemed the incident met the red card threshold for foul play.

The case is to be considered by the SANZAAR Foul Play Review Committee tonight.