Chiefs happy with balance in 2016 squad

Sam Cane scores a try for the Chiefs

Hamilton based Chiefs co-captain Sam Cane says that he thinks the Chiefs 2016 Super Rugby squad is well balanced and exciting.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie’s extended 40-man 2016 Super Rugby squad is largely made up of a mix of either debutants or All Blacks.

Next week the fuill group will go away on a week long training camp and 12 former or current All Blacks will meet the 14 new players for this season.

Cane says that he likes what he has seen with the mix of the squad ahead of their pre-season opener against the Waratahs in four weeks.

“I think we’ve got a really well-balanced squad and it’s going to prove an exciting team,” the new co-captain Cane told the NZ Herald.

“We may not have guys who are overly old but we’ve got quite a few guys who have actually tasted the All Black environment, even if it wasn’t for that long.

“That’s great because we’ve got guys who know they’re right on the fringe, so they’ll be coming in and working bloody hard to get up there. ”

“And we’ve got guys who are first-year in Super Rugby and they’re pushing guys like myself who have been here a little bit longer.”

The Chiefs senior players include the likes of Cane, Brodie Retallick and Tawera Kerr-Barlow who all helped the All Blacks retain their World cup title and then there are players like Aaron Cruden, Hika Elliot and Stephen Donald who make up for the absences of Liam Messam and Sonny Bill Williams who are focusing on Sevens for the time being.

The Chiefs needed such a large number of new recruits this season as Ben Tameifuna and locking duo Matt Symons and Mike Fitzgerald, Tom Marshall, Hosea Gear, Bryce Heem and Tim Nanai-Williams all headed offshore. The only returning outside back is James Lowe.

The last time the Chiefs had such an influx of new players was in 2012 when the Rennie era began and it also delivered their first Super Rugby title.

“I was one of the new kids on the block in 2012 and we’ve got guys here in similar positions now,” he said.

“Hopefully, by the end of the year, a few of these new boys will be stepping up as starters and people will know a lot more about them.”

There are a couple of players who have moved to the Chiefs from other squad such as Crusaders duo Dominic Bird and Nepo Laulala. They will be joined by former Warrior Glen Fisiiahi, Auckland standout Mitch Karpik and New Zealand under-20 captain Atu Moli.

“The way we’ve all bonded already has been good for us,” said co-captain Aaron Cruden.

“Hopefully that continues throughout the season.

“It’s going to need to if we want to be right up there come the end,” Cruden said.

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