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Dave Rennie hails Chiefs' Maori heritage
ESPN Staff
February 17, 2014
Chiefs fly-half Aaron Cruden celebrates victory with a Maori warrior, Chiefs v Sharks, Super Rugby Final, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, New Zealand, August 4, 2012
Dave Rennie attributes the Chiefs' success to their understanding of their region's Maori history © Getty Images
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Chiefs coach Dave Rennie says the Chiefs' understanding of their Maori history and background have added strength to the back-to-back Super Rugby champions.

The players contributed to the team development of a strong culture in 2012, acknowledging the side's links with the region, its Maori heritage and those who had gone before, and the Chiefs moved from ninth place to claim two title wins.

Looking upon the heritage for inspiration, Rennie believes the side adopts the values of legendary Maoris - the brutality, ruthlessness and intelligence - and employs them in attack and defence.

"You hope for success but it comes from hard work, selection and an understanding of who we are and what we represent is important [our Maori background]," Rennie told ESPNscrum "Innovation [is key]. We have a group with high expectations but you can't win championships without hard work and that recipe won't change.

Rennie has attributed the region's Maori roots to bringing the side together, saying they have created a personal meaning for the team in terms of what the "Chiefs" stand for. The Chiefs then have drawn strength from their heritage, creating a new team logo and a team haka that has a special meaning for the side.

Maori chants and phrases are also used to bring the side together, Rennie said. The battle cry "paoa", meaning 'to strike or attack' is something they believe represents their team. Rennie also believes the Tainui saying "he piko he taniwha" - 'around every bend is a taniwha' - represents the Chiefs in defence.

With a successful pre-season completed, the Chiefs are settled in for the season ahead under the pressure of attempting three titles in a row. Rennie has been impressed with his side's performances, particularly their form against the Blues, but they will have to make do without Sam Cane.

"I am really happy with the squad we have assembled," Rennie told ESPNscrum. "It is full of character and depth. It's hard every year, as this is a tough competition, so we work hard every year to be better than the previous year."

The Chiefs hit the ground running this season, with their opening match against seven-time champions Crusaders, whom Rennie believes are major contenders for the title.

"The Crusaders, they are full of All Blacks and are tough but there are many other sides with the ability to win."

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