Players mic'd up in Chiefs v Crusaders clash

Dallas McLeod is tackled during the round one Super Rugby Pacific match against the Chiefs in...
Dallas McLeod is tackled during the round one Super Rugby Pacific match against the Chiefs in Hamilton. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images
The Chiefs players wore microphones during Friday's Super Rugby Pacific win over the Crusaders in Hamilton in a bid to bring fans even closer to the action on the field.

It was the first time this had been done in New Zealand in a World Rugby-sanctioned game.

Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan said fan experience is important.

"We acknowledge the need to provide a more fan-centric product, and the use of player mics is a mechanism that gets fans closer to the action. We have seen them used in other codes to good effect and can give fans, coaches and players an insight into what is seen, felt, communicated and actioned on the field."

Captain Luke Jacobson and playmaker Damian McKenzie had concealed microphones during the game.

The Hamilton-based Chiefs have been trialling the innovation since early January and throughout their pre-season fixtures.

All Blacks midfielder Quinn Tupaea is one player who wore the concealed mic during their Cross Border Rugby fixtures and found it an exciting tool from a player insights perspective too.

Chiefs Rugby Club CEO Simon Graafhuis said: "Implementing the player mics in pre-season and sharing them with broadcast is a first, not just for us, but for all of rugby in New Zealand.

"We are always looking at ways that we can innovate and how we can share more of what we do with our fans. The players and coaching group are really supportive of this initiative and there are plans to extend this innovation to include the DHL Super Rugby Pacific teams in New Zealand.

"For the Chiefs, in-game mics are just the first step in a larger plan to release a documentary that will bring fans behind the scenes of our club, its culture and our teams. We will keep pushing the boat out in this space and hope our fans enjoy this new view of the game."