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Concussed Chief Ngatai omitted again

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 30/05/2017

Charlie Ngatai of the Chiefs. © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images Charlie Ngatai of the Chiefs. The Chiefs will be without Charlie Ngatai for at least another week, with the All Blacks midfielder remaining on stand-down after a re-occurrence of his concussion symptoms.

Ngatai won't face the Waratahs in Hamilton on Saturday, missing a third straight game after making his long-awaited return against the Reds in New Plymouth earlier this month.

He had missed the previous year of rugby while recovering from concussion symptoms.

"Charlie saw a specialist who recommended he be unavailable this week. He's training fully but we're going to be cautious and take the advice of the expert" coach Dave Rennie said.

They will also be without versatile outside back Sam McNicol as he continues to battle concussion but veteran Stephen Donald could be available for his 100th game for the franchise.

However, with Tim Nanai-Williams suffering an ankle injury and the ongoing problem with Toni Pulu's hamstring, the Chiefs have brought in All Blacks Sevens speedster Joe Webber as cover.

"He's very similar to Tim and Sam in that he can play centre, wing and fullback so it's good to have him," Rennie said.

The Chiefs won't be underestimating the Waratahs, who they have lost to in four of their last five encounters.

The Australian side are on the verge of elimination from play-off contention, having slipped nine points behind the Australian Conference-leading Brumbies with three matches to play.

"The Waratahs are a pretty good side and have scored 16 tries against the four Kiwi sides they have played so far and they have got some big athletes," Rennie said.

"They're a team that we have battled with in the past and we were pretty poor against them last year so we will have to be a lot better defensively.''

He concedes the New Zealand Conference title is now almost out of reach following their 16-16 draw with the Blues last Friday night.

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