Chiefs doubly unhappy with second TMO shocker
The Chiefs remain adamant they were robbed by a second straight Friday night TMO shocker, but coach Dave Rennie understands that at this stage of the Super Rugby season he's got bigger things to fix than a flawed video review system.
A fortnight ago Rennie's Chiefs looked like they were breezing to the minor premiership and the prospect of never leaving Hamilton at finals time. Now, following back-to-back defeats to the Crusaders and Hurricanes, they seem certain to cede that top spot to the Stormers.
The bonus point from Friday's agonising 28-25 defeat at the Cake Tin, sealed by Dane Coles' debatable try after the hooter, at least seals a guaranteed home semifinal for the Chiefs, and a week off to lick wounds and regather forces. It's a break Rennie will use to address some key failings.
"We've already had a discussion about what's going to be important for us to tick off over the next couple of weeks," the Chiefs coach told the Star-Times yesterday.
"It's a good challenge but we've got a good bunch of boys with a great attitude and they'll dig in and work hard.
"It's a no stone unturned time of the year and the rewards for getting it right are huge. We're certainly going to give it everything."
Despite the resoluteness, the Chiefs camp were puzzled by a second straight game where they appeared to come out on the wrong end of a TMO puzzler.
Last week it was Andy Ellis's outrageous double-movement that went against them; this week it was Coles' match-winner, also with a hint of a second effort, not to mention no apparent view of it being forced.
Canes coach Mark Hammett said he thought it was a fair try, but then again he admitted he had become "a fan" at the end. And Coles said he felt he grounded the ball.
Rennie saw it differently. "I didn't see any pictures that convinced me it was a try," he said. "He had a lot of looks at it, because it was difficult to find conclusive evidence. Our players felt it wasn't down and some of the Hurricanes boys confirmed that."
Rennie's not the type to suck on the sour grapes, but felt the TMO's decisions needed to be more clear-cut.
If Rennie was looking for positives out of a second straight defeat, then no fresh injuries, the possible return of Ben Afeaki and a bit of an emotional tweak were probably on his list. He was unhappy with the support play off line breaks. "We've worked hard to get ourselves into this position, and the fact we've dropped a couple of games and still got a home semi highlights the good work done earlier. We'll take a lot out of [this game].
"If we'd snuck home it might have painted over the cracks. We know we're good enough to win a championship and we've got a couple of weeks to tidy up some things and get it right for the semi."
A little love from the TMO would not go amiss either.
Sunday Star Times