Super Rugby Aotearoa: Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan keeps calm over TMO call

Clayton McMillan says he wont be playing the blame-game as the Chiefs must do all they can to not set a fresh record of 12 consecutive losses after tumbling to a 39-17 defeat to the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday night.
Should McMillan elect to change his mind, however, he could find some juicy targets to sink his teeth into.

Peter Meecham/Getty Images
Chiefs fullback Damian McKenzie can't stop Crusaders wing Leicester Fainga'anuku from scoring a try during the round three Super Rugby Aotearoa match.

He could, for starters, single out the officials who controlled the Super Rugby Aotearoa match at Orangetheory Stadium after they declared the Chiefs captains challenge early in the second half was worthless.

The Chiefs had reason to feel they were wronged.

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Crusaders first five-eighth Richie Mounga appeared to make a forward pass, a consequence of Chiefs halfback Brad Weber knocking his arm during the movement.

But TMO Paul Williams and referee James Doleman ruled the ball had grazed the hand of Weber and that the penalty try which was awarded as a result of the latter being deliberately offside later in the movement, should stand.

That really hurt the Chiefs, who having led 10-0 early in the first half, found themselves trailing 18-10 and down to 14 men after Weber had been yellow carded

I thought it was a pretty good challenge, to be fair, McMillan said.

It didnt look from the angle that we had, that Brad got a hand to the ball. I guess the ball definitely propelled forward but the decision was made that it came off 1 of our players.

And 2 or 3 phases later Brad was yellow carded for being offside. That bit was probably fair on the back of a couple of other penalties.

McMillan could also line-up his players and ask some tough questions.

Whether giving them a serve would be constructive is another matter.

Some teams react well to getting a verbal blast - as the Crusaders forwards did when assistant coach Jason Ryan let rip at halftime - but when a team is constantly having to review defeats it can have a negative effect.

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Richie Mo'unga of the Crusaders charges forward during the round three Super Rugby Aotearoa match against the Chiefs.

The Chiefs players will be well aware they were still in the game when they only trailed 11-10, before capitulating in the second half under the relentless pressure from the Crusaders.

What will hurt the Chiefs most, possibly, is that they couldnt compete with the Crusaders scrum and at times bewildered by the talent of their attack, which was led by Mounga.

If the Chiefs lose to the Hurricanes in their next match, they will become the first New Zealand Super team to lose 12 games on the trot.

As it stands they have now equalled the Highlanders record of 11 defeats, set during the 2012-13 seasons.

McMillan has been asked enough about the spectre of this ugly record being added to the Chiefs record books to know how to react; he tried to keep a brave face.

Its there (the record), you cant hide away from the fact that the team hasnt won a few games for a while, he said.

Last season is in the past. We have got a new team, obviously some new coaches. I am there. Our environment is top-notch, I reckon. We are heading in the right direction.

Again, I reiterate, the good things we do - we just need to do consistently and for longer. And we will get a good outcome.


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