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The Chiefs haven’t lifted the Super Rugby trophy since the 2013 season.
Warren Gatland will demand the Chiefs play smarter rugby under his watch, and he also wants the franchise to become ‘a beacon’ that others aspire to.
Following a 12-year reign with Wales, Gatland started in his new role at the Chiefs this week, and while still getting his feet under the desk, he’s already got grand plans for the Super Rugby club.
Though the Chiefs boast the current longest playoffs-making streak (eight years) of any side in the competition, it’s now six campaigns since their last title, when Dave Rennie guided them to a second successive crown in 2013.
Since then, three other Kiwi sides have lifted the trophy, while the Chiefs have been consistent but unable to make it past the semifinals,
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Gatland comes in on a four-year contract (with a 2021 sabbatical for the Lions), replacing Colin Cooper – who left with a year remaining on his deal- and said anything but a quarterfinal finish next year would be a disappointment.
But, with a wealth of knowledge built up from his time in the UK, he’s hoping to be able to drive the team further by massaging the Chiefs’ customary attacking flair with a bit more tactical nous.
“I come from the northern hemisphere, so we’re just going to play 10-man rugby and kick everything,” Gatland was quick to joke.
“I think it’s important that you look at the talent and the quality of players that you’ve got. I love rugby being played in a positive vein. And the Chiefs have tended to go out there and play an expansive game, and we want to encourage them to do that, but we also want them to be smart.
“And talking to the other [assistant] coaches, they’ve felt that in the last couple of years they’ve tried to play a little bit too much rugby, and haven’t been smart about havin
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