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Chiefs back Ngatai taking it week by week

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 25/04/2017

Chiefs midfielder Charlie Ngatai is happy just to be back playing rugby after being out of the game for over 11 months with concussion symptoms.

Ngatai played for the University club in the Waikato Premiership over the weekend, his first match since suffering a head knock against the Highlanders last May.

"It was good as I was a bit nervous at the start and then the old adrenaline started to kick and I felt more confident" he said.

The one-Test All Black is in no rush to return to Super Rugby, despite having come through a second club game on Tuesday.

"I'm just going to take it week by week," he said.

"The main thing for me was just getting out on the field but hopefully with a bit of game fitness under the belt I can get back into Super with the boys soon."

The 26-year-old has been in talks with New Zealand Maori coach Colin Cooper as he dreams of playing against the British and Irish Lions in June.

He says Cooper, whom he also plays under with Taranaki, has a similar view to Chiefs coach Dave Rennie.

"He's just happy that I'm back playing again," he said.

"He hasn't said too much about the Maori but I've got to play Super before jumping back into international rugby."

Ngatai will likely have two bites at the cherry with the Lions playing the Maori in Rotorua on June 17 before facing the Chiefs in Hamilton three days later.

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