Playing Moana Pasifika when down 17 players might concern some Super Rugby Pacific sides, but the Chiefs were happy to take the risk because their opponents deserved a chance to play.
Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan said rather than any benefits the Chiefs might accrue from playing this weekend, he was more pleased that Moana Pasifika would get a game because they had done it hard only playing once.
The Chiefs, who were to play the Hurricanes, were prepared to go deep into their player well to make sure the game happened.
People could say the Chiefs were at risk of being beaten by a hungrier team, he said.
"I don't know what they've been doing behind closed doors for three or four weeks. So that creates a certain amount of anxiety.
"But we've got to put our own desires to the sideline and do what we think is best for the competition, and right now that's playing against Moana at home and next week it could be different, as we've seen with a number of other teams," he said.
McMillan said the impact of Covid had been significant.
He said people needed to believe the facts about Covid. Having players suffer the virus had hit home its effects. Some players were asymptomatic, some had runny noses, and some strong athletes had been knocked over.
However, he was confident the competition could be completed, even with midweek catch-up games.
"It may not be perfect in terms of having to back up a number of games, but it's something we all agreed to at the beginning, and it's come to fruition. So, we just deal with it," he said.
.@MoanaPasifika_ vs @ChiefsRugby— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) March 16, 2022
Saturday 7:05pm NZT#SuperRugbyPacific pic.twitter.com/zyriu2CsML
The issues around selection, and the absence of some experienced players, galvanised the side.
"A bit like last week, some guys are going to get their first opportunity this week and they're going to make every post a winner," he said.
Last week's win over the Crusaders had confirmed the feeling that internal belief in the team was growing.
That had come from observing the daily grind of training as young players prepared alongside seasoned campaigners and held their own.
"Competitiveness raises the bar for everybody. You don't get many chances, and we want to be consistent in our selections. There is an element of rotation because it is an arduous competition. But that has been taken away from us because of Covid, so people have got opportunities earlier.
"But they know they have got to nail opportunities because the next one might come around too quickly. What those guys have done is put pressure back on us to keep selecting them which is exactly what we want," he said.
Halfback, and captain for the game, Brad Weber said he realised the lack of a specialist halfback backup meant he might have to play 80 minutes. That was something he had never gone into a game knowing before. But he had also been advising Rivez Reihana who is listed as a replacement halfback.
McMillan said he was confident Reihana had the skill set to cope should he be required.
KEEN for Saturday!#MOAvCHI #SuperRugbyPacific pic.twitter.com/nsQbwnFwyM— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) March 16, 2022