That's an interesting statement. But I read it as insulting to Rennie and the Chiefs. WITH is definitely better than LIKE but it's barely positive. It's OK for someone to describe themselves as bringing "a bit of mongrel" but it is usually a veiled insult if others use those terms, e.g. of the MP Judith Collins.
It was meant as an insult if I am honest.
I don't see any place for thuggery in Rugby, I don't see any place for coaches that encourage it. I don't like it when the AB's do it and have condemned it when I have seen it, and I definitely feel the same way when the Crusaders have been guilty of it.
I don't argue his results, just the method by which they were achieved. I know someone who played in the Chiefs development team. It was well known that Rennie encouraged his players to try and upset the opposing team, with niggle and sledging.
Tamifuna, Messam and some of those others who have now moved on, really loved it (The niggle and conflict). The Chiefs are playing with a lot of the same freedom they have under Rennie, but with less of the negatives.
There is a difference between being physical and trying to hurt someone.
Just my take on it. Others really liked that style, but if the AB's played like they used to now, I wouldn't be as big of a fan.
A really good example.. A few years back Coles was getting into trouble, was yellow carded for retaliations and causing a fracas, it was the result of Steve Hansen telling him he wanted Coles to be more aggressive and physical. Coles misunderstood and got himself and the AB's into trouble. Steve Hansen had a second meeting with him, and it clicked. It was about that time that Coles went from good, to amazing, because he channelled his aggression better.