WELLINGTON – Chiefs captain Sam Cane has said their stunning transformation from Super Rugby strugglers to playoffs contenders was sparked by a desire to prove their critics wrong.
Colin Cooper's side dug themselves out of a 0-4 hole at the start of the season and overcame the loss of key players to injury to book themselves a quarter-final against Argentina's Jaguares in Buenos Aires.
Cane said the New Zealanders had been written off at various stages during the season but managed to rally each time to stay in touch.
"There's been numerous times throughout the year when it was like 'the Chiefs are out of it', or 'they're pretty much done', or 'they're a slim mathematical hope'," he told New Zealand media.
"When people are quick to put the boot in or pick things apart, it could go one of two ways. Our group actually got a wee bit tighter, and it's benefited us at the end.