Chiefs coach doing it right: skipper - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Chiefs coach doing it right: skipper

By Daniel Gilhooly 08/05/2009 02:53:58 PM Comments (0)

Chiefs Super 14 coach Ian Foster hasn't been afraid to alter his style under the advice of players this year and it's paying dividends, says captain Mils Muliaina.

Reducing the number of training sessions each week has been one fundamental change introduced by Foster in his sixth year at the helm, with his second-placed team seemingly having benefited.

Veteran All Blacks fullback Muliaina noted Foster had endured years of criticism for the Chiefs' failure to reach the playoffs - much of it unjustified.

He felt the 43-year-old had become peerless in terms of his open approach with the players and his willingness to take on player-driven concepts.

"He's been absolutely outstanding in the way he's listened to some of the feedback," Muliaina said.

"Some of the feedback, he could probably take it the wrong way but he's come back and talked about it.

"Having the faith to train three times a week, as opposed to the whole week now, he listened to that."

Under Foster, the Chiefs reached the semifinal in his first season in 2004 but since then they have placed sixth or seventh.

They could yet miss the playoffs again but Muliaina suggested that shouldn't be pinned on Foster.

"He's had a lot of critics and what-not (but)... there's no questioning the way he coaches in this environment.

"He's a good coach and he just needed to start listening. And that's the thing he's done."

Saturday's top-of-the-table match against the Hurricanes in Hamilton is a clash of two veteran Super rugby coaches with several similarities.

Hurricanes mentor Colin Cooper has had just one year longer at the helm of his franchise.

The two know each other well, having formed a highly-successful partnership as co-coaches of the Junior All Blacks from 2005-07.

A major difference is Cooper's success in reaching the playoffs, with the Hurricanes having been involved at the semifinal stage in four of his six years at the helm.

They have never gone on to win, a failure the 50-year-old will be out to remedy this month.

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