Timely bye for injured Chiefs
Mon, 15 Jul 2013 17:05
We'll watch with interest at the weekend
A possible season-ending injury to centre Tim Nanai-Williams tops the list of injury concerns for the Chiefs ahead of the play-offs.
The defending champions will miss the first round of the play-offs this weekend after finishing the regular season at the top of the table but could still be without a few key players in their home semifinal.
Nanai-Williams will definitely miss next weekend’s game and is likely to be sidelined for the remainder of the season after suffering a knee strain and re-injuring his groin in the 26-16 bonus-point win over the Blues at Eden Park on Saturday.
The utility back is understood to be having scans on his injuries with coach Dave Rennie expecting the worst.
A disappointed Nanai-Williams tweeted on Monday: "Gutted to hear that I might be out for the year #verysad.''
Tighthead Ben Afeaki (back) and All Black lock Brodie Retallick (ankle) are in a race against time to be fit for the key clash, while flank Tanerau Latimer suffered a haematoma on his calf) and No.8 Matt Vant Leven a head knock and a neck problem at the weekend.
Rennie said they will enjoy the fruits off their labour with light training on Monday and Tuesday but know they will have to step up a gear in the coming weeks if they are to retain their title.
"It's obviously nice to qualify No.1 and I guess we don't have to worry about travelling now. You win your semi and you get to stay at home for the Final, which is nice, but that's the easy part of it. There are six very strong sides and it's wide open, I think," he said.
The Chiefs faced unlucky opponents the Sharks in last year’s Final after the Durban side defeated the Reds in Brisbane and the Stormers in Cape Town.
This has prepared Rennie to be ready to face any of the remaining title hopefuls.
"If it goes to seedings you would expect the Brumbies to beat the Cheetahs [in Canberra] so we'd play the winner of the Crusaders-Reds game and we'll do a bit of extra preparation on the Reds this week because we've done a lot on the Crusaders in recent times and just need to tidy up a few things from their game at the weekend.
"But I guess if the Cheetahs knock over the Brumbies then that's who we'll be playing so we'll do a bit of work on all those teams and then watch with interest at the weekend."
Rennie said he was disappointed with the high number of missed opportunities and poor territory game at the weekend.
"But they are easy fixes and there was a lot of pressure on the boys this week. In the end we're happy,” he said.
"At the start of the year we had the goal of finishing in the top two to get a home semi and to get No 1 spot is great. Considering the amount of injuries we've had the whole squad has done a fantastic job of putting us in that position.
"We've just got to make sure over the next two weeks we have that edge and are really clinical in our performances as there is no tomorrow if you get it wrong.”
Sources: Fairfax NZ News & APNZ
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