Super Rugby Pacific: Tempers flare at Chiefs training before final rematch against Crusaders

If Chiefs fans were in any doubt about whether their team's fired up for the new season, pre-season training has provided proof they're ready to go. 

Newshub cameras were rolling, as forwards Samipeni Finau and Hamilton Burr traded punches in a case of friendly fire before the team's competition opener against the Crusaders - a rematch of last year's final.

McMillan is no doubt hoping that energy is harnessed and channeled towards the Crusaders at Hamilton's FMG Stadium.

Samipeni Finau.
Samipeni Finau. Photo credit: Getty Images

"We can't change what happened last year, but we can certainly have an influence on what happens on Friday," said McMillan. "If all of the energy is directed there, then we give ourselves a chance." 

The hurt from falling at the final hurdle last year will no doubt still linger for many within the squad, but McMillan is eager for his side to learn from that defeat, rather than dwell on it.

"You've got to flush the dunny on that and move forward," he said. "We've seen plenty of evidence of teams who have lived too much in the past and it hasn't done anything positive for them in the future." 

Rather than simply saying it, McMillan is abiding by that philosophy himself.

He recently linked with former Chiefs and Wallabies coach Dave Rennie in Japan, as he looks to implement the same growth he's asking his players to.

"He understands, through his own trials and tribulations, that we don't live in a world of perfection and candy floss and lollies," he added. "You're going to have bad times and you've got to push on through." 

While the Crusaders enter the Super Rugby season as defending champions for the seventh year running, new head coach Rob Penny is eager to wipe the slate clean.

"I know the Chiefs are touting this as a bit of a grudge match, a bit of a rematch of the final," said Penney. "We're not going there, because it's not - it's a new season, a new group."

Both the Crusaders and Chiefs share that mentality, as they look to hit the ground running.

Join Newshub at 7pm Friday for live updates of the Chiefs v Crusaders Super Rugby Pacific clash