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Chiefs overcome Super Rugby adversity

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 3/05/2016

The Chiefs' never-say-die attitude is proving a winner as they maintain their grip on top of the Super Rugby competition.

They have recorded eight wins from nine matches this season, despite a horrendous injury toll which left 15 players unavailable for selection against the Sharks in New Plymouth on Friday.

The Chiefs looked rusty in their 24-22 win over the South Africans, after already playing in four different countries this season.

However, coach Dave Rennie was making no excuses.

"We don't talk about the travel, we don't talk about the injuries and whoever is wearing the jersey, it's their role to fulfil it," he said.

"We're pretty happy with the attitude and work ethic of these guys, and it will be no different this week."

The Chiefs are no strangers to overcoming adversity, having won-back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013 before making the finals in 2014 and 2015 despite missing several key players.

"Injuries are just part of the game and we tend to focus on who we have got rather than who we haven't.

"It's a bit like a revolving door - you lose some and you get some back in," Rennie said.

The Chiefs have already lost four players for the season with Nepo Laulala, Pauliasi Manu, Mitchell Karpik and Sam Henwood all out of action.

"I think we have had more season-ending injuries this year than we have had in the past.

"That's a little more to deal with because you have to replace that player and finding the right person is the challenge."

The Chiefs have the bye next week, but first must overcome the defending champion Highlanders in Hamilton on Saturday.

"They are a really well-coached side and play really smart footie, so we are going to have to be pretty good," Rennie said.

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