Chiefs have plenty to play for against the Blues

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Lynn McConnell     23 May 2017     Getty Images

His own side need to keep winning to be in the hunt for the best possible placement on the points table, and he hasn't discounted finishing top, while the Blues can't afford to lose.


"We haven't counted out the fact we can still finish top in our Conference but we need a couple of other sides to knock over the Crusaders. We'll control what we can, obviously that's through a good performance this weekend," Rennie said.

The Blues would be desperate, however, because if they lose their qualifying chances would be gone.

"I think they'll be highly-motivated, but they've always been massive encounters and I expect nothing different this week," he said.

The Chiefs were disappointed with the outcome of their game in Suva against the Crusaders where they out-scored the Crusaders four tries to three but lost the game 24-31.

"We made a couple of defensive errors that we wouldn't normally make, they were pretty clinical and they scored off them. We had some opportunities especially just before and just after half-time that we could have put a little pressure on them but we didn't nail those," he said.

Having looked at the Blues game against the Stormers in Cape Town ahead of Friday's game, he said there had been some strange yellow card decisions that ended up being a red card.

"It's not an easy place to go as we found out. The Stormers, even with a couple of first fives out, still were able to apply a lot of pressure, especially through their pack so what we know is the Blues will be pretty desperate this week," he said.
Rennie said second five-eighths Charlie Ngatai had been symptom free of concussion for four days but because they wanted to be really sure they would not play him this week against the Blues. A similar approach was being taken with Sam McNicol who had some concussion history.

"We'll tread carefully around that. He missed the whole NPC through concussion," he said.

Stephen Donald had bounced back from his concussion and was going through protocols but would be unlikely to be considered.

Considerations for the midfield this week would include Tim Nanai-Williams, Johnny Faauli who had completed his four-week suspension and Alex Nankiville had returned to the squad as cover.

Wing Toni Pulu was also likely to be available as he had recovered from his hamstring injury.

Goal-kicking issues had their effect in Suva as well.

"We believe Aaron [Cruden] is our best goal-kicker. He didn't have a great night by his own admission. I thought he had a great game, I thought he played superbly but he's tough on himself," he said.

A decision about who would kick on Friday would be based on how both he and Damian McKenzie kicked during the week, Rennie said.