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Super Rugby team preview: Chiefs


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Article Published: Thursday 23 February 2012


In our latest Super Rugby team preview we focus on the Chiefs from Hamilton, New Zealand.

After another disappointing showing in 2011 which saw them finish last in the New Zealand conference, the Chiefs needed a makeover and new coach Dave Rennie will hopefully be the breath of fresh air they require this season.

The Waikato outfit have themselves one of the most potent backlines in the tournament with Aaron Cruden, Sonny Bill Williams and Richard Kahui all stepping up to the plate and more than making up for the loss of Stephen Donald, Mils Muliaina and Sitiveni Sivivatu.

Known for his great runs and classy offloads, new recruit Williams will look to give the Chiefs backline that added spark this season along with his midfield partner Kahui.

The Chiefs' pack is probably their biggest weakness, although they have been able to beef up their scrum and secure the services of big Samoan lock Kane Thompson and his Manu Samoa captain Mahonri Schwalger at hooker.

If the forwards are able to maintain discipline and structure and facilitate good quality ball, then the Chiefs' backline should be able to do the rest.

Talented back-rower Liam Messam and lock Craig Clarke will lead the team this season.

Prediction: The Chiefs seem set to improve on last year's performance and should definitely finish in the top 10.

2012 Chiefs squad: Ben Afeaki, Alex Bradley, Sam Cane, Craig Clarke, Shane Cleaver, Aaron Cruden, Hika Elliot, Mike Fitzgerald, Richard Kahui, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Romana Graham, Andrew Horrell, Tanerau Latimer, Fritz Lee, Brendon Leonard, Lelia Masaga, Liam Messam, Tim Nanai-Williams, Maritino Nemani, Declan O'Donnell,  Brodie Retallick, Robbie Robinson, Mahonri Schwalger, Toby Smith, Ben Tameifuna, Sona Taumalolo, Kane Thompson, Aseli Tikoirototuma, Scott Waldrom, Jackson Willison, Sonny Bill Williams.

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