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Australian teams ones to watch

EVAN PEGDEN
Last updated 05:00 12/03/2014
Dave Rennie
BRUCE MERCER/ Fairfax NZ
CHIEFS COACH: Dave Rennie.

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Unbeaten Chiefs coach Dave Rennie is dwelling on the good form shown by the Australian Super 15 sides rather than getting too worried about the underperforrming New Zealand conference teams at this early stage.

''I think the ones who are the most impressive in the comp at the moment are the Aussies,'' he said.

''And it's no surprise really. They've had an extra two or three months to prepare after a long break, so guys have been able to rehab and they've had a lot of time to get their systems in place.

''They certainly look a step-up on the rest of the competition.''

He was most impressed by the Waratahs, who like the Chiefs had a bye last weekend after winning their first matches, but unlike the Chiefs have done it with two bonus points as well for maximum points.

''You even look at the Reds, the Force were pretty impressive at the weekend, the Rebels the weekend before that and the Brumbies had a really good win over the Hurricanes at the weekend.

''So I think from an organisation and time point of view we're just a fraction behind them but that's what these weeks are about - trying to get points out of whatever games you can while trying to spend more time on those things,'' he said.

The Chiefs are about to enter their longest run of games without a break since Rennie took over the team in 2012. They will play nine on the trot before their next bye and Rennie said player management through that was extremely important.

''We have to manage our players through that process and that's the advantage of getting a few back [from injury]. It means we can tweak that a little bit.

''We've got a trip to Perth and Africa [next week] amongst it and we're away three weeks, but there are some real positives around that.

''We'll be training at altitude and we think we'll get some benefits from that coming home and so on, although a bit of that is around mindset I guess.

While plenty of depth in the squad would help keep players fresh, their GPS system enabled them to monitor individuals' training and playing load and manage things over the next couple of months.

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- Waikato Times

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