Super Rugby Pacific: Why vulnerability is key for Anton Lienert-Brown as he embraces leadership role after Chiefs experience exodus

The Chiefs are preparing for life without some of their most experienced players, with the next group of leaders now looking to make an impact.

The side have lost more than 400 caps worth of experience heading into this Super Rugby Pacific season and while that impact on the field will be hard to replace, the Chiefs hope what happens off the field will help them go one better this year, after losing the 2023 final to the Crusaders.

After a summer break to freshen up mentally, as much as physically, following a long season, All Blacks midfielder Anton Lienert Brown, 28, is primed for another big year.

"I don't want to make amends for last year - I just want to get better," he told Newshub. "You've got to take those learnings and implement them into this year."

Lienert-Brown's role at the Chiefs will take on greater significance this season. With the departures of Sam Cane, Brodie Retallick and Brad Weber, he is now the side's second-most capped player.

Anton Lienert-Brown in action for the Chiefs last season.
Anton Lienert-Brown in action for the Chiefs last season. Photo credit: Getty Images

"We lost some great leaders, some great players, and for me, in terms of that leadership role, I do need to step up," he said.

Lienert-Brown feels the most important way to do that is to put a greater focus around the mental side of the game.

"Just letting boys know they can be themselves, and I try and lead vulnerability," he explained. "I put myself out there, and when the younger crew can can see you make mistakes and see you're not perfect, that's a way of leadership, because that makes them feel more comfortable in this group."

"It's not about being perfect, it's about being yourself and giving it your all."

That's something Lienert-Brown has had to learn along the way and, as he prepares for his 11th season with the Chiefs, it's something he wants his teammates to understand as well.

"If you're trying to be perfect every day, you can get into a pretty bad spiral," he said.

"No doubt you have high standards for yourself, no doubt you've got to give 100 percent, but it's definitely about being vulnerable. It's about knowing that you don't have to be perfect, but you have to have the mindset that you're going out there to give it your best."

Achieving that balance will go a long way to ensuring the Chiefs are once again there at the business end of Super Rugby Pacific, not that Luke Jacobson is overly concerned about that right now.

"We're just worried about adapting, evolving and getting better," he told Newshub. "We know what we did last year wasn't good enough last year, so it's not going to be good enough this year."

The Chiefs are setting high standards on and off the field, as they set their sights on Super Rugby redemption.