Chiefs ready to hit the ground running

The Chiefs are confident that they have done the correct amount of preparation ahead of the 2008 Super 14.


The Chiefs however have a habit of starting slow so when they face the Blues on Saturday they will be looking to start on a high.


In 2006 they started slowly but gathered pace and lost only one of their last seven matches, but still finished seventh.


Then in 2007 they had four losses and a draw in their first five matches before winning all but one of the rest to finish just two points out of the playoffs in sixth.


Understandably then, Chiefs skipper Jono Gibbes (pictured) admits he is approaching the season opener with a mixture of confidence and nervousness.


“From a personal point of view, and I think it reflects right through the team, you get confidence through your preparation and I think (coaches) Ian (Foster), Craig (Stevenson) and Keith (Robinson) have done a wonderful job in preparing us,” Gibbes said yesterday on the Chiefs web site.


“I feel confident, I feel excited about the game and, yeah, a bit of nerves as well.

In order to turn things around Gibbes said the Chiefs who are by their own admission, perennial slow starters, had had to tinker with their build-up to the first-round match this year.

“We’ve tried something a little bit different this year by not really playing last week and it will be interesting to see whether that’s made a big difference or not.

“Every pre-season you always feel really good, yet for us we haven’t been able to unlock the secret of starting well. So it’s no different to any other year but I just feel we’ve overall prepared really well, have got a good mix of guys and there’s a quiet confidence about looking forward to the challenge.”

Gibbes looks to have come back strongly from a year dogged by a knee injury looking like the time off and in the gym has benefited him.

“I think the pre-season’s been good for me. Being able to do the work with the guys has been really good for my state of mind as well knowing I’ve put in the yards as much as the other guys,” Gibbes said.

“Normally this time of year I’ve had about three runs and tried to get out there and guts it out for the first six weeks, but I feel fit.”

Chiefs coach Ian Foster said Gibbes had come back strongly both physically and mentally.

“It was never a weakness of his but he has brought in a bit more steel to his leadership and I think going through hardships like that, and he’s had a few of them in the last three or four years, has just refined him, developed his character and made him even more important for us,” Foster said.

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