Ngatai set for Super Rugby return
INJURY UPDATE: Chiefs centre Charlie Ngatai is set to make his Super Rugby return against the Reds in New Plymouth on Saturday.
Ngatai has been out of action for a whole year since suffering a head knock against the Highlanders on May 7 last year.
Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie confirmed that Ngatai will be available for selection against the Reds and All Blacks selector Grant Fox has not ruled out the centre for All Black selection ahead of this year's British and Irish Lions Series.
Nathan Harris, as well as lock Michael Allardice, will also be available for this weekend's clash. The Chiefs are also likely to have Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Tim Nanai-Williams and Brodie Retallick fit this week.
"It's great to have so many guys on their feet and it certainly makes training more intense with a lot more competition for places," Rennie told NZ Newswire.
The match against the Reds will almost be a year to the day after Ngatai's last Chiefs game when he suffered a serious concussion.
"Really nice for Charlie as he's worked hard to get himself in good nick," Rennie said.
"It's fantastic to have him back because, in my opinion, he was the best player in Super Rugby last year."
Meanwhile the abrasive and skilful loose-forward duo of Mitchell Brown and Lachlan Boshier are the latest additions to the 2018 Chiefs squad.
The Taranaki pair joined the Chiefs as replacement players in 2016, impressing immensely in their maiden Super Rugby seasons to earn full contracts for 2017. Brown and Boshier have signed for two years.
Twenty-three-year-old Mitchell Brown is known for his uncompromising and assertive style of play. At 1.94m and 110kg, his size coupled with his impressive skillset offers versatility with Brown adept at lock, flank and No.8. He made his debut in No.6 for the Chiefs against Wales in June 2016.
His Super Rugby debut followed soon after against the Crusaders in Suva, Fiji. To date he has played nine games for the Chiefs.
Born and raised in Taranaki, Brown attended New Plymouth Boys High School and played two years for the School's 1st XV in 2010 and 2011. He earned his first cap for the Port Taranaki Bulls in their Ranfurly Shield defense against King Country in 2012. Brown has played 27 first class games over five seasons with the amber and blacks.
Boshier made his Chiefs debut against the Sharks in April 2016. The instinctive forward quickly established himself as an excellent continuity openside flank. At 1.93m and 106kg, Boshier is proving a handful for opposition teams due to his accuracy and work ethic. The 22-year-old builder has played 13 Super Rugby games to date.
Boshier is also a product of New Plymouth Boys High School. He played for the School's 1st XV from 2010-2012, a team he also captained. The former New Zealand Under-20s representative made his National Provincial Championship debut for the Port Taranaki Bulls in 2014.
Sources: NZ Newswire & radiosport.co.nz