Stevenson: Chiefs looking to 'right a few wrongs' against Reds

Tue, Jun 6
Chiefs outside back Shaun Stevenson runs in for a try against the Highlanders.

Chiefs outside back Shaun Stevenson and lock Brodie Retallick are looking to "right a few wrongs" against the Reds in their Super Rugby Pacific quarter-final in Hamilton on Saturday afternoon.

The Reds were the only team to beat the Chiefs this season; their 25-22 round 12 victory at New Plymouth's Yarrow Stadium the only blemish on an otherwise perfect regular season.

As fate would have it, after the Chiefs beat the Force 43-19 in Perth at the weekend, the two teams will meet in the first knockout stage, and Stevenson, who played in that defeat, reflected today on that and his team's No.1 seeding which guarantees them a home draw for as long as they're in the competition.

"It's nice to be home and it's nice to be first and know you'll be playing here," he told 1News today.

"We're looking forward to getting back to FMG Stadium in front of our fans and we're stoked it's a 4.35pm game. We're keen to rip in and we know it's a bit of a redemption game after our only loss. We're keen to right a few wrongs."

Due this consistently excellent form this season, Stevenson, 26, is a good chance to be named in the All Blacks squad for the Rugby Championship on June 18 and while he occasionally heard the "outside chat", his priority was simply playing well for the Chiefs.

"Going into the finals, what has been done in the regular season you have to put to the side," Stevenson said.

"The focus for me as an individual is how do I take my game to the next level. I guess with the outside chat — people can talk and whatnot, but I just want to focus on my own performance; that's not overplaying my hand or anything… but it's doing the 1 percenters on the field.

Brodie Retallicks wins a lineout for the Chiefs against the Crusaders this season.

"That's why you play — to make those higher honours, but you've got to focus on your job and whatever happens, happens.

"You've got to stay grounded. You have to lock in for the next few weeks hopefully and that starts this week with the Reds."

Veteran lock Retallick, meanwhile, is relishing the chance to win another title after last winning with the Chiefs 10 years ago. And while he didn't play in his team's only defeat this season, playing the Reds on Saturday gave the match a little extra meaning.

"I think it does," he said. "Last week against the Force we talked about not letting what happened in New Plymouth happen again. They deserved to win that day and were a little bit more hungry, and outplayed us.

"One of the strengths of the group this year is that everyone has played playoffs footy and come up short so there's some confidence from that as well."

Assistant coach Roger Randle, who along with fellow assistant David Hill has recommitted to the Chiefs until the end of 2016 — in line with head coach Clayton McMillan's contract extension — said of the Reds: "It worked out pretty well actually but they're probably thinking the same thing. They'll think they can beat us."


More Stories