Super Rugby round 10
Dave Rennie slams 'heartless' Chiefs
April 20, 2013
Lelia Masaga and the Chiefs had little to celebrate in Sydney © Getty Images
Angry Chiefs coach Dave Rennie has slammed his players after they slumped to their second consecutive Super Rugby defeat, declaring the 25-20 loss to New South Wales Waratahs a "heartless performance".
The Chiefs trailed 15-0 at half-time but fought back to take the lead via a Ben Tameifuna try in the 72nd minute before conceding John Ulugia's match-winner three minutes from full-time. But Rennie was unimpressed by the performance from start to finish.
"It was disappointing right throughout to be honest," he fumed after the match. "It was a pretty heartless performance to be honest for a group of guys who have shown an enormous amount of heart over the last year and a half, and that sort of spirit's won us a lot of games. But with and without the ball, we didn't tick too many boxes tonight."
Asked what he put the lacklustre display down to, a perplexed Rennie said: "I've got no idea. I mean obviously we made some selection changes and whether that's a bit of rustiness, but we generally defend really well but we gave up a lot of yardage. They got quick ball and they got [across] the gain line every time they got the ball. The boys did fight back well and got ourselves in the position where we should have won it but we didn't and that probably summed up the night."
The defending champions have now lost three games this season, with the Sharks travelling to Hamilton for a rematch of last year's grand-final next Saturday.
"We need to find answers quickly don't we," Rennie said. "We've got the Sharks at home next week but it's a long season and we dropped four games last year and finished second in the round robin ... we've got to get the momentum back and get things going so we'll have a decent look at things and have a tough training week and we'll try and put that attitude out on the field."
Rennie revealed that Andrew Horrell could require ankle surgery while other key players also suffered injuries in the loss.
"Andrew Horrell's done his ankle. It looks like it's not broken but he's done ligaments in his ankle so that still might need to be operated on anyway. Fritz Lee may have broken his thumb; we're just checking on that. And Richard Kahui did his hamstring; that's why he didn't come out after half-time. Aaron Cruden rolled his ankle but ended up staying out there so it's probably more bruised egos than anything else to be honest."
New South Wales showed great spirit to defeat the Chiefs (video available only in Australia)