Chiefs excited to welcome Narawa back for Highlanders clash

Emoni N

He will come off the bench after his frustrating injury with the All Blacks at last year's World Cup.

Coach Clayton McMillan said, "Yes, he's back to his normal annoying self at training. He can do some things that others can't; we saw plenty of evidence of that last year, and he deserved his opportunity to get into the All Blacks.

"We've missed him this year, but others have stood up and taken their opportunity. It's just good to see him back. He brings a lot of energy to our environment."

He also brings a selection headache when contenders for starts are all playing well.

"It is certainly a headache when you have to make decisions around a number of people who are playing well as opposed to the other situation."

McMillan said he was pleased with the Chiefs' response against the Drua after their earlier loss to the Reds.

"We were unhappy with how we played against the Reds and we needed a response. It wasn't the perfect one but the Drua challenged us for long periods of the game and we knew they were going to be physical and for the large part we responded well. So, it was good to come out with the victory."

But he wasn't buying into the historic problems the Highlanders have had in winning New Zealand derbies.

"I've been impressed with them. They're looking like a tight unit. They have a clear understanding of how they want to play their game, and for the most part, they have been executing well.

"They're a young group and they've had some challenges but it looks like they've learned and come back hungry. They're dangerous. They've named close to their strongest side and we're under no illusions."

McMillan said complacency wouldn't be part of their environment. They missed out on a bonus point against the Drua, and they know they have to earn their points each week.

The Chiefs have made small steps over the last five or six weeks after a disjointed pre-season. Because of time restrictions with the draw, they could only train twice a week for a couple of weeks, which meant they had to keep the preparation narrow and not create clutter in players' minds.

"This is the first week we've had a longer turnaround and been able to lay out some more stuff. So, there's been growth, and there's a lot more to come. Hopefully, we'll see some evidence of it this week."


View all