Charlie Ngatai again misses out on Chiefs selection

The Chiefs have made just one change to their starting squad ahead of their clash against the Australian conference-leading Waratahs on Friday night.

Tom Sanders is promoted from the bench to start at No.8 to replace the injured Michael Leitch who dislocated his thumb last week against the Rebels. Leitch underwent surgery today but head coach Dave Rennie says that the kiwi-born Japanese captain could be available come playoffs time.

“If he can come right, he will be in the reckoning if we get there”, Rennie said.

The Chiefs’ other loose-forward option Maama Vaipula wasn’t considered for selection due to a knock sustained during club rugby last weekend. Continue reading Charlie Ngatai again misses out on Chiefs selection

The Chiefs: News of note (Sunday 22nd May, 2016)

Here is the latest out of the Chiefs camp following the sides 36-15 victory over the Melbourne Rebels.

Michael Leitch To Miss Two Months 

After dislocating his thumb, Michael Leitch will miss up to two months of Super Rugby action. With one round remaining before the month-long international window, and a further three rounds after that until the playoffs, it is likely the kiwi-born Japanese captain will return for knockout rugby.

Aaron Cruden’s Personal Motivation Reminder 

Spotted on the left wristband of Aaron Cruden is written a generic code with letters and numbers. This code is the All Black-regular’s National Health Number (NHN) and it serves as motivation for Cruden on the field, reminding him of his battle with testicular cancer. Cruden says the use of this is a personal message to himself for each game.

“When things get tough on the field, it is something to look back on and know that you have to keep giving it your all”, Cruden said.

Charlie Ngatai Will Play Against Waratahs 

Charlie Ngatai is set to return to the Chiefs midfield for Friday nights clash against the Waratahs in Sydney after it has been revealed that symptoms of a concussion have fully healed. Ngatai’s inclusion will likely be at the expense of Anton Lienert-Brown.

 

 

 

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 Look To Work On Three Key Areas

Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie will be putting his players to work after a bye this weekend, because he knows there is room for concern in key areas.

The Chiefs lost 26-13 to the Highlanders in front of the biggest rugby crowd seen in Hamilton for three years. While on the scoreboard the deficit was only 13-points, the game as a whole was dominated by the Highlanders.

“This highlights that Super Rugby is a tough competition, but we just made way too many errors”, Rennie said. Continue reading Chiefs Look To Work On Three Key Areas

McKenzie’s Enoyable Time At Chiefs Makes Decision To Stay Easier

It has been an eventful week for Damian McKenzie, but his decision to stay with the Chiefs is likely due to his comfort in the team environment.

In the eyes of some people, Damian McKenzie made a bad decision when he chose not to take up the offer made to him by the Blues.

But for the 21-year old, the decision to stay with the Chiefs could be because the “here and now” is not all there is to consider.

McKenzie is very small in size, and this is going to be commented on time and time again throughout his career. It is something that has never bothered Mckenzie himself, but with that says, the 21-year old knows it could  be a disadvantage in many matches, and there was no denying that in the weekends 26-13 loss to the Highlanders.

McKenzie had much ball in hand but struggled to do anything of note against the Highlanders, but he showed just as much bravery as ever.

But, the stats back it up, McKenzie has not slotted any points for the Chiefs since the clash against the Hurricanes two weeks ago. Continue reading McKenzie’s Enoyable Time At Chiefs Makes Decision To Stay Easier

22,000 Ready To Rock At FMG Stadium For Local Derby

Everyone loves a local New Zealand derby, and for the winner of the Chiefs vs Highlanders clash tonight, there is a big statement to make by doing so.

With three close losses so far this season, the Highlanders are yet to convince that they are capable of claiming back-to-back Super Rugby titles despite having arguably the strongest line up on paper to do so.

The return of Waisake Naholo will complete the Highlanders back line, and with the likes of Malakai Fekitoa, Ben Smith, and Patrick Osborne alongside, the backs have the power to steamroll their way through the Chiefs defense, but they can only do this with plenty of ball in hand.

Kicking possession to the Chiefs back three should result in the Chiefs getting good go forward.

The only way the Highlanders can win this game is to throw everything they have at the Chiefs with ball in hand, take risks, and kick the all important penalty goals that will come a plenty. Continue reading 22,000 Ready To Rock At FMG Stadium For Local Derby

Loss Of Kerr-Barlow No Big Deal For Chiefs

The loss of Tawera Kerr-Barlow is no big deal for the Chiefs, because the question of who starts in the halfback role shouldn’t be up for discussion.

Kerr-Barlow broke his hand in a ‘random incident’ during the Chiefs narrow 28-27 win over the Hurricanes.

Brad Weber, young in age but not in skill, has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the past two seasons in Super Rugby.

His leadership of the Mooloos in ITM Cup saw Weber grow in confidence, and when given a chance by Dave Rennie for the Chiefs, Weber took it with both hands and managed to secure himself a test match debut for the All Blacks against Samoa last July. Continue reading Loss Of Kerr-Barlow No Big Deal For Chiefs

Atu Moli Working On Getting Faster

Atu Moli is only 20-years old, but his resume is already mighty impressive.

Fresh out of high school, Moli captained the New Zealand U-20 side to World Cup glory in 2015.

The intensity of Super Rugby is above and beyond that of what Moli experienced with the New Zealand U-20 side, and his primary work on has been improving his speed around the field in order to keep up with the game.

“For me, I love physicality, but I am still trying to work on keeping up with the pace of it,” Moli said.

Weighing 127kg, Moli has power in the scrum and on defense, not missing a single tackle so far this season.

Moli has played four games for the Chiefs, but he says each one feels like a debut in itself.

“Every game feels like it is my first because of the atmosphere that goes around the dressing room”, Moli said.

Moli is in line for selection for the Chiefs clash against the Hurricanes this Saturday.

Chiefs Beat Blues With Another Impressive Performance

Five tries helped the Chiefs to a deserving 29-23 win over the Blues in the Battle of the Bombays.

Aaron Cruden and Shaun Stevenson scored tries with their pace and by being able to draw in defenders, leaving Damian McKenzie to come through with crucial points off the boot when it really mattered.

Mitchell Graham scored his first try in Super Rugby, and Seta Tamanivalu showed his worth in the midfield with a try from pure strength close to the line.

The Blues toiled away all game long and threw everything at a Chiefs defense that proved to be too superior.

What is remarkable is that the Chiefs, despite all their travel, again proved that their fitness, undeniably, sets the standard in Super Rugby this year. Scoring four tries in total, their physicality on defense shut down a Blues side that didn’t kick for territory and rather tried a too direct approach.

The Blues scored two tries, and were in a position to win the game with a ten-point lead before the Chiefs came storming back with three tries in the second half. Continue reading Chiefs Beat Blues With Another Impressive Performance

Dominic Bird To Start For Chiefs

All Black lock Dominic Bird will make his debut for the Chiefs against the Blues as Chiefs coach Dave Rennie makes five changes.

The experienced lock has been nursing a fractured foot that has seen him miss the opening six rounds of Super Rugby. During that time, Bird has remained a key figure off the field by helping the Chiefs improve their lineout with valuable advice.

Bird could have returned last week against the Brumbies but another few days training has seen him catapulted into the Chiefs starting line-up. Continue reading Dominic Bird To Start For Chiefs