Chiefs 'on the right track' to avoid record-equalling Super Rugby defeat

The Chiefs acknowledge that they need to step up if they're going to find an elusive drought-breaking victory, preparing to face the Crusaders in Christchurch this weekend.

Despite holding a 20-11 lead at halftime in last weekend's Super Rugby Aotearoa match-up against the Highlanders in Hamilton, the Chiefs conspired to throw away their advantage, succumbing to a 39-23 loss.

To make matters worse, that defeat was the Chiefs' 10th in succession, leaving them one adrift of equalling the all-time competition record, held by the 2012-13 Highlanders.

That defeat ensured that the Chiefs have now gone more than an entire calendar year without tasting victory, tasked with attempting to end their drought in arguably the most challenging assignment in franchise rugby, facing the four-time defending champion Crusaders on Saturday.

Speaking on Tuesday, Chiefs midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown outlined the positives in that first-half display against the Highlanders, but need to learn to put together a complete 80-minute performance.

"We can take a lot of confidence from that first half," Lienert-Brown says. 

"The big thing now is to put that into the second. We've had a pretty honest review, and made some good changes to make sure the second 40 [minutes] are a lot better.

"We back ourselves and the shifts we've made in this environment to be a lot better. 

"We've had an honest review, and it's going to be a lot better this week.

"There's no hiding from the fact about the results we've had in the past, but we're definitely on the right track to turn that around."

Prop Angus Ta'avao meanwhile, added that the Chiefs' current 80-minute woes are just as much mental than physical or technical.

"For the last few years, we've always talked about [that] we either start really well and maybe don't come out as hot in the second half, or we don't start so well and then come out really hot in the second half and finish games strong," Ta'avao says.  

"It's just about sometimes momentum's not always going to go our way, it's not always going to be easy, and things go how we want to.

"Everyone just needs to make sure they're really switched on about staying in the moment, next job, what's happening next, how can I help and nail my next job.

"You can be nailing all of your things, but if it comes down to that mental side of it, and you're not quite switched on, and you miss a little moment, miss a tackle and [Jona] Nareki makes a break, offloads here, next thing you're three tries down.

"It's about trying to switch off from that. That's done, you can't let it affect you in the next play."

Join us for live updates of the Crusaders vs Chiefs from 7:05pm Saturday.