Reasonably grim-faced and undemonstrative even at the best of times, the misery only mounts this year for Warren Gatland.
Already nailed in as the British and Irish Lions’ head coach for their massive safari to South Africa in 2021 to tackle the World Cup champions, his Chiefs side extended their embarrassing duck in Super Rugby Aotearoa on Saturday.
They were beaten 32-19 at their Hamilton home by the Crusaders, smarting from a first loss in the competition last weekend but right back in charge of the title chase after this bonus-point win.
The rub of the green from officials certainly didn’t go the Chiefs’ way on a plucky enough occasion for them where the final score was a little deceptive.
Yet the stark fact remained that the final try count was 5-1 to the ‘Saders … which will only add to the belief that the Mooloo Men have been sterile in attack under Gatland’s watch in recent weeks; all but five of their points came through Damian McKenzie’s trusty kicking off the tee.
The Chiefs trudged off now nursing a 0/7 Aotearoa record, still rock bottom on the table despite having played more fixtures than anyone else and now certain to finish the tournament with the wooden spoon.
They have one match left to play for a drought-breaking win, next Saturday away to the Hurricanes before a last-round bye. The fourth-placed Highlanders above them have already recorded two victories.
Add in the 27-24 home loss to the Hurricanes before the fuller version of Super Rugby was suspended in mid-March, and Gatland is running 0/8 at this level.
The only consolation is that he is not quite yet threatening the worst run by a New Zealand franchise.
That dubious honour remains in the hands of the then Jamie Joseph-coached Highlanders, who went 11 matches as losers between 2012 (last three matches of the campaign) and 2013, when they began with eight reverses in succession.
The 2013 sequence included one at the hands of a South African side, the Cheetahs, who beat them 36-19 in Invercargill.
It was finally snapped when they pipped the Sharks 25-22 in Dunedin.
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