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Mackintosh thriving in Chiefs environment

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Sportal.co.nz     05 Feb 2014     Getty Images

Mackintosh said his goals in rugby were no different to anyone else in New Zealand and regaining his All Blacks status was part of his motivation.

"I am still really motivated to play for New Zealand and I have told all my family and friends that I want to play my best rugby at home in New Zealand.
Hopefully I can get back to where I want to be," he said.

Mackintosh acknowledged that as a tall loosehead prop he had to work hard to get his technique right in order to cope with the perceived advantages that shorter props had.

Making the transition from the southern fortresses of the game was part of his plan to get better, something along the lines of change being as good as a holiday.

"One of the biggest things has been adjusting to the climate. The air is a bit fresher down home," he said adding that the greater humidity in the north, especially in summer and autumn, took some getting used to.

But the Chiefs were no different to all of the franchises in wanting to have a good working environment for all their players. The group were a family and treated each other with respect and that was no different to what he had experienced in Dunedin.

In Hamilton, the mood and direction were led by the coaches.

"I've been really impressed with the technical and tactical training at the Chiefs, it is a mix you have got to get right. You need to get the balance right," he said.

After a year working with the new scrum emphasis Mackintosh said he had grown to like the changes.

"For the loosehead it has taken away the emphasis on the hit. Before if the tighthead or scrum was struggling with the quick hit there were a lot more collapses.

"But with the binding there is more confidence and the pressure comes through the scrum rather than from the front rows. With the emphasis on the engagement process it will be better for the game," he said.

Changes had resulted in the need for what he said was called 'eccentric loading' which was about everything, and everyone, being aligned to apply the pressure through the scrum.

What that meant was the pressure being applied for longer periods of time, after the hit, and then generating power.

"Winning the hit is still important, but now the constant pressure and strength coming through the scrum means you need to have to better technique," he said.

Mackintosh said there had been a lot more emphasis on live pushing drills in training as the new season neared.

The coaching personnel with the side had been impressive with head coach Dave Rennie working on set pieces, Tom Coventry working on attacking while Wayne Smith had been working on defence and tackle techniques.

Mackintosh said he felt a lot of confidence in what the coaches had the side doing and he had been working hard since joining the side in getting up to speed with their approach.