Charlie Ngatai Still Sidelined With Concussion

Charlie Ngatai continues to be sidelined from playing rugby as symptoms from a concussion sustained nearly two months ago continue to linger.

The midfielder took a knock in the latter stages of the Chiefs’ Round 11 loss to the Highlanders in Hamilton and has been sidelined ever since. Despite being named in the All Blacks, Ngatai was sent home after just a week of training with the squad.

Speaking to the media three weeks ago, Chiefs coach Dave Rennie said that the prognosis on Ngatai’s return to rugby was unknown.

Fans will have to wait at least another week to see the standout midfielder back on the park. Ngatai hasn’t made the Chiefs travelling squad for Friday’s clash against the Crusaders in Suva, an historic night for Super Rugby, marking the first time a game has been played in the pacific.

The Chiefs currently sit second on the New Zealand Conference table in Super Rugby.

Chiefs prepare to launch beginning with home clash against Rebels

The Chiefs say their confidence hasn’t been dented despite a poor loss to the in-form Highlanders last time out in which ball security was a major issue.

Head coach Dave Rennie says he spent a lot of time looking at his sides last performance on video during the bye week.

“We had a pretty brutal review, but in the end it is a pretty good learning curve for us and the Highlanders exposed a couple of areas that we need to be sharper in”, Rennie said.

The Chiefs believe that they are in a position to launch towards the playoffs with just four rounds of regular competition remaining, and two rounds remaining before the June international window that will see a handful of the Chiefs players going off on All Black duties. Continue reading Chiefs prepare to launch beginning with home clash against Rebels

Chiefs ready for hungry Crusader backlash

The Chiefs are aware of a Crusaders side out for blood on Friday night as Charlie Ngatai and Sonny Bill Williams both return to the starting line-up.

phoca_thumb_l_13-07-27 chiefs v crusaders 1

The Chiefs hope that the returning midfield pair will last the full 80-minutes in Christchurch.

Chiefs assistant coach Tom Coventry believes that being as accurate as possible in all areas of the game as well as keeping good discipline will be important if the Chiefs are to get their second successive win over the Crusaders this season.

Ngatai hasn’t been a part of the Chiefs squad since prior to the South African tour and SBW missed out on the last game against the Blues.

The Chiefs say that they hope the due will work as well together as they did last time they were paired.

“We’ve been nursing them both through the last couple of weeks” Coventry said.

Tim Nani Williams also returns to the starting squad following injury and will play on the right wing.

Damian McKenzie misses out this week as Tom Marshall covers fullback in what some are calling a surprising selection.

Coventry said that the Chiefs want to keep McKenzie in Chiefs country as they continue to groom the young playmaker as a two-position utility.

“We will just make sure he specialises in one but having the ability to play at both ten and fullback will be a big feather in his cap going forward in his rugby career” Coventry said.

Chiefs avoiding “injury crisis” ahead of Crusaders encounter

The Chiefs are hard at work preparing for a strong Crusaders squad this weekend.

10995345_1008125079216095_4932142645136213904_n

There were notable injuries from the Brumbies match, but at today’s training and media session it looked like Sam Cane and Sonny Bill Williams in particular were back to near match-fit status.

Charlie Ngatai is focused on continuing his good start to Super Rugby against the Crusaders on Saturday.

If his dodgy calf pulls up well on Thursday’s training, Ngatai is likely to get a start against the Crusaders.

Ngatai scored the Chiefs only try against the Brumbies last week, breaking four tackles in the process.

Ngatai has focused on his defense during the pre season, and has started the first couple of games with a perfect 100% tackling success rate.

“I’ve been trying to put a lot of effort in that at training and it’s starting to pay off”, Ngatai said.

Having run over 100 metres in two games, Ngatai has completed just 9 passes which suggests a hunger to take the ball to the line and back his own physical ability and footwork.

“I was lucky to get 10 carries against the Brumbies and it is great to be getting the ball in hand”, Ngatai said.

With the ever-growing numbers of players leaving NZ shores post RWC, and unclear confirmation over if Sonny Bill Williams will be available as he moves onto Sevens rugby, Charlie Ngatai could be an option to keep in mind for the All Blacks midfield next year.

“Depending on injuries, as long as I can keep my body right and play week in week out with consistency then I will have a shot”.

Equally excited and hungry for more game time is Chiefs halfback Brad Weber.

Weber started the first two games of the season, and will likely get game time against the Crusaders, the side he made his Super Rugby debut against last year.

“Really happy, got couple of starts over the pre season with Gus being late coming in, Rennie is pretty happy with my form so he rewarded me”, Weber said.

Weber has been working on his core skills in Chiefs camp and is working on having his passing and kicking standards at an elite level.

“My main focus over the break was to make sure I was consistent in my skills”.