Waikato Chiefs vs. ACT Brumbies: Keys to Chiefs Winning Back-to-Back Titles

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistAugust 3, 2013

HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND - JULY 27: Liam Messam of the Chiefs celebrates after winning the Super Rugby semi final match between the Chiefs and the Crusaders at Waikato Stadium on July 27, 2013 in Hamilton, New Zealand.  (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
Hannah Johnston/Getty Images

In the climax to this season’s southern hemisphere action, the Chiefs will seek to become the first team since the 2010 Bulls to win consecutive Super Rugby titles.

By contrast, the Brumbies are more of a re-emerging franchise looking to get back to the heights previously reached in the early 2000s.

However, going into Saturday’s Waikato clash, it’s the hosts who stand out as decisive favourites and appear to have the weapons necessary to tie up their third championship title.

But Dave Rennie’s men will still need to make certain things happen on the pitch, factors they’ve promoted for great stretches of this term, in order to emerge triumphant.


Attack Is The Best Form Of Defence

Having finished top of the Super Rugby table after 20 rounds, it’s no coincidence that the Chiefs were the best attacking team in the running.

Finishing the season with a total of 458 points scored, 10 ahead of the Bulls, Rennie has managed to craft an offence as fearsome as the one which operated in 2012’s successful hunt.

On the other hand, the New Zealand franchise have only the ninth-best defence across all three conferences, with Western Force conceding just two points more than the Chiefs.

It would appear that as long as his side finish as victors, Rennie cares less about how they go about it.

But defence may not be too much of an issue this weekend. Against the Crusaders in their semi-final, the Chiefs did well to hold out against one of the more imperious sides in the competition, with the loose forwards particularly impressive at the breakdown.

So the league leaders are likely to be concentrating on their attack, and it’s a good job they’re so proficient—this season the Brumbies conceded just 295 points as the second strongest defence in Super Rugby.


Familiar Territory

In pressure situations such as the final, it helps to know your surroundings and be comfortable with the occasion so it does not affect you on a mental level.

Having won last season, the Chiefs are familiar with the demands of a Super Rugby final and what’s needed to make the most of the event.

Aaron Cruden, Brodie Retallick, Liam Messam, Lelia Masaga and others were all present for 2012’s success, and will be looking to recreate that winning formula this weekend.

It was Cruden who was tweeting his preparations for the almighty clash—this time regarding his culinary skills:

Having Rennie’s experienced mind in such situations will be a boon to the New Zealand hosts too.


The New Zealand Factor

New Zealand rugby is enjoying a successful run in terms of the world’s power distribution, at club and international level.

The All Blacks are current World Cup champions and a number of 2011’s victorious squad will line up for the Chiefs on Saturday.

With the Chiefs’ standing as current Super Rugby champions, the New Zealand conference also can claim to be the current strongest of the three.

The Brumbies no doubt will put up an almighty battle, but there’s an aura of dominance around the Chiefs right now, which lends itself to their favourites tag. 

The Chiefs model themselves on that which makes New Zealand such a successful side.

With their hard running, penchant for flair, and steadfast defence, the Chiefs can win the final if they recreate the standards from Canterbury last weekend, where victory over the Crusaders established them as New Zealand's finest.