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Chiefs back trio to step up against Canes

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 7/06/2017

The Chiefs are backing their incoming players to rise to the occasion against defending Super Rugby champions the Hurricanes in Wellington. © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images The Chiefs are backing their incoming players to rise to the occasion against defending Super Rugby champions the Hurricanes in Wellington. The Chiefs are backing their incoming players to rise to the occasion against defending Super Rugby champions the Hurricanes in Wellington.

Second five-eighth Charlie Ngatai will play his second game of the season on Friday night after being sidelined for over a month with recurring headaches following a year-long absence due to concussion.

Assistant coach Neil Barnes is confident the one-Test All Black, whose inclusion is one of three changes to the starting line-up, is ready to face his former franchise.

"He'll be trying to prove a point to himself that he's good to go for the rest of his playing career," he said.

"Charlie will do what's best for the team - he's that type of guy. It won't be about him. He'll just concentrate on getting his role right."

The Chiefs have also selected 21-year-old Solomon Alaimalo on the right wing as they look to combat the speed and power of Julian Savea and Nehe Milner-Skudder.

"He's big, quick and elusive, and a very good defender," Barnes said.

"We're rewarding him for his effort at practice and we're keen to see what he can bring to the table under pressure."

The absence of lock Brodie Retallick because of a head knock has opened the door for the return of Michael Allardice, 12 months after he was sidelined with a serious knee injury against Wales.

"I'm not going to underplay how good Brodie is but, when you're playing a competition this long, you're never going get through with all your best players," Barnes said.

"You're only as strong as your weakest, and I've got absolute faith in the people we're bringing in as they train all year for these situations."

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