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‘Bit of a mistake’: Former Chiefs back slams RA’s decision to axe Rennie

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Former Chiefs utility back Chase Tiatia has slammed Rugby Australia’s decision to part ways with former Wallabies coach Dave Rennie ahead of this year’s World Cup in France.

Harbouring World Cup ambitions, Rugby Australia confirmed the news after a disastrous international campaign in 2022.

The wounded Wallabies won just five of their 14 Test matches under Rennie last year – although an injury crisis made its way through the squad.

More than 50 players donned Wallaby gold last year, while others including Lachlan Swinton missed out completely, due to injuries.

But rugby is a results driven industry.

Rennie named a 44-player Wallabies squad for a four-day training camp on the Gold Coast last month, but was sacked shortly after.

Western Force recruit Tiatia said that some of the Wallabies players were “quite shocked” to hear the news, and the 27-year-old agreed.

“I was quite shocked that he actually got released from the Wallabies. I talking to a few of the Wallaby boys and they were quite shocked too. They just finished up camp and there was no chat about it then,” Tiatia told RugbyPass.

“I think they’ve made a little bit of a mistake there. He’s pretty good with building the culture and the chemistry.

“A pretty tough season last year with injuries but if all the boys get back on the field I’d say they’ll go well at the World Cup.”

Tiatia began his Super Rugby career playing under Rennie at the Chiefs, but struggled to force his way into a talented matchday squad.

The outside back made his debut in Chiefs colours against the British and Irish Lions in 2017, before moving south to the capital.

Tiatia began to hit his stride at the Hurricanes as an impact player off the bench, before requesting an early release to head back to Hamilton.

“The writing was on the wall at the Chiefs, there’s a lot of young guys coming through, Damian McKenzie coming back,” he added.

“I didn’t really want to play for any other New Zealand franchise for the season this year.

After a couple of seasons back at the Chiefs, he decided to take up an opportunity across the Tasman with the Western Force.

Force assistant coach Mark Ozich played a crucial role in the recruitment process after approaching Tiatia about the opportunity out west.

“(Ozich He finally moved over here and asked me if I was interested, if I was keen, then conversations developed. (Simon Cron) Crono and (Matt Hodgson) Hodgo started to chat to me and asked me if I was keen and showed me a plan for the next couple of years.

“I thought I’d be a good addition to the team. I agreed with what they were saying and liked the plan they have in store for the Force.

“Hopefully in the next couple of years we’re at the top, if not winning championships.”

Super Rugby Pacific is set to get underway in less than two weeks, starting with a New Zealand blockbuster between the Crusaders and Chiefs in Christchurch.

The Force have another preseason trial later this week against the Fijian Drua in Brisbane, before opening their regular season at home against the Melbourne Rebels on February 25.


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