Chiefs targeting Blues upset

Following their two wins over the Force and the Highlanders the Chiefs are now targeting New Zealand’s highest placed team the Blues who are in fourth place.


Considering the Chiefs lost their first three matches they are not in a bad position in eighth place with 12 points just four behind the Blues who they will face this weekend in Hamilton.


A victory over the Blues could see them end up overtaking the Blues on the Super 14 table after they picked up a second successive victory at the weekend.


They will however need to field a fit back line that is capable of toppling the Blues and the 14-10 victory over the Highlanders at Rugby Park Stadium did come at a price.


There is a major concern about the fitness of the Chiefs’ outside backs as Southland import James Wilson lasted just 12 minutes in Invercargill before joining the injured list with a torn hamstring.


His fellow wing/fullback Sosene Anesi has already been ruled out for up to five more weeks with a strained AC joint in his shoulder.


All Black wing Sitiveni Sivivatu missed the Highlanders game because of a a shoulder injury which means that the Chiefs are looking a little thin in their back three.


Thankfully for the Chiefs All Blacks fullback Mils Muliaina made a successful return to playing and as long as he does not suffer another freak injury from picking up a piece of paper like he did earlier in the season he will face the Blues.


“I’m not too sure how Siti’s injury has settled down while we’ve been away but he would be the significant one for us, particularly with James’ and Sos’ injuries, ” Chiefs coach Ian Foster told the Waikato Times.


“Obviously we’re hoping but we’ll get an assessment tomorrow,” Foster said.


He added that Wilson was likely to be out for a fairly “significant chunk of time”.


“We’re gutted for James. How unlucky is that? His first start with us, down in Invercargill in front of his family, he gets an intercept, he’s looking at the try line down the other end and bang goes his hamstring.”


Despite being sent to the sin-bin Muliaina looked sharp while on the right wing Lelia Masaga caused problems for the Highlanders defence as he did the week before against the Force.


“(Masaga) had a very strong game, even with a couple of errors, and he showed if we can put the phases together and put him into positions where he can create mis-matches, particularly with opposition forwards, he’s lethal in that area.”


Foster said that he was pleased with the performance from his loose forwards but added that he was concerned about the number of penalties they are giving away.


Foster added that he was confident that if the Chiefs maintained their momentum in performance the points table would take care of itself.


“I think we’ve seen, over the weekend particularly, just how tight and even this competition is.


“It looked like the little bit of luck the Sharks had the last couple of weeks ran out in Brisbane and the Waratahs obviously stumbled so there are not too many teams who aren’t able to win some games on their day,” he said.

 

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