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Chiefs, Blues in a do or die clash

Friday, July 11, 2014

HAMILTON - The Chiefs will have to be careful they don't get sucked into playing festival-type rugby against the Blues, says assistant coach Wayne Smith.

Both teams go into the do or die final round of Super Rugby knowing the finals remain a possibility.

The scenario is a simple one for the Chiefs in Auckland tonight's win and they are in.

However, the Blues must win by more than 38 points and deny the Chiefs any bonus points to stand a chance of making the top six, suggesting the Auckland-based side will attack at all costs.

"Clearly we don't want it to turn into a festival match," Smith said.

"We need to go out there and be really physical and take our A-game. We've got everything to play for and they've got nothing to lose."

It's been backs-to-the-walls for several weeks now for the defending champions and they are finally starting to deliver.

The dominant display by the Chiefs forwards in last week's vital win against the Hurricanes will be needed again against the Blues, who pushed the Crusaders to the brink in Christchurch.

While Brodie Retallick grabbed most of the headlines following the 24-16 victory, Smith felt the plaudits could also be shared with second-row partner Michael Fitzgerald.

"He's a real unsung hero, particularly around the track," Smith said.

"He makes a lot of tackles, carries a lot of ball and has a big heart, which probably sums up the Chiefs."

Smith also said another big effort would also be needed from the loose forward trio of Liam Messam, Tanerau Latimer and up-and-comer Liam Squire.

But one thing in the Chiefs' favour is the absence of Blues prop Tony Woodcock because of a shoulder injury.

Sam Prattley will now pack down against the sizeable challenge of Ben Tameifuna.

"It's clearly going to make a difference," Smith said.

"Sam Prattley is good at set-piece and very active around the field but Woody has been the best prop in the world, and probably still is, so that's got to be a loss."

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