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Defence crucial to Super title: Chiefs halfback

Date

Wellington

Tawera Kerr-Barlow looks to pass during the Super Rugby semi-final against the Crusaders.

Tawera Kerr-Barlow looks to pass during the Super Rugby semi-final against the Crusaders. Photo: Getty Images

Chiefs halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow is imploring his side to produce one more in-your-face defensive display to secure a maiden Super Rugby title.

Victory in Saturday's final against the Sharks in Hamilton could well be determined by the battle of the gain line, something the Chiefs decisively won in their semi-final upset of the Crusaders.

One of the most physical halfbacks in the professional game, Kerr-Barlow holds a rare quality for a No.9 in that he helps set the defensive tone for his team.

He was one of several Chiefs players who threw the Crusaders off their clinical methods with an aggressive, relentless approach to defence.

"And it wasn't the first 20 - it was the whole 80 minutes," Kerr-Barlow told NZ Newswire.

"Right at the end, the boys defended magnificently. We held our composure and forced a mistake out of them.

"It happens because everyone's talking and, when everyone's too tired to talk, someone else is talking.

"The more voice out there, the more intensity you have."

Victorian-born and Darwin-raised, Kerr-Barlow shifted to Hamilton in his early teens and has risen quickly through the Waikato ranks.

This year, he has largely kept 13-Test halfback Brendon Leonard on the reserve bench while climbing to fringe All Blacks status himself.

The 21-year-old said higher honours were far from his mind this week, assigning himself the role of keeping his forwards focused on the task of being physical against the impressive Sharks pack.

"I'll know how we're going to go in the first five minutes.

"All year, we've made dominant tackles. It's been a feature for us apart from in the last couple of round-robin games (losses to the Crusaders and Hurricanes).

"We can't get carried away. We've got a final to play - there's no room to let up."

AAP

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
 
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