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Ngatai finally set for Super Rugby return

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 2/05/2017

All Blacks Charlie Ngatai and Nathan Harris, as well as lock Michael Allardice, are available for Super Rugby selection for the Chiefs after overcoming long-term injuries. © Tim Clayton/Getty Images All Blacks Charlie Ngatai and Nathan Harris, as well as lock Michael Allardice, are available for Super Rugby selection for the Chiefs after overcoming long-term injuries. All Blacks Charlie Ngatai and Nathan Harris, as well as lock Michael Allardice, are available for Super Rugby selection for the Chiefs after overcoming long-term injuries.

The likely return of Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Tim Nanai-Williams and Brodie Retallick also gives the side additional international experience, much to the delight of coach Dave Rennie.

"It's great to have so many guys on their feet and it certainly makes training more intense with a lot more competition for places," he said on Tuesday.

Rennie is particularly rapt for one-Test midfielder Ngatai, who is in line to play against the Reds in New Plymouth on Saturday.

The match is almost a year to the day after his last Chiefs game, against the Highlanders, when he suffered a serious concussion.

"Really nice for Charlie as he's worked hard to get himself in good nick," Rennie said.

"It's fantastic to have him back because in my opinion he was the best player in Super Rugby last year."

The Chiefs sit second on the New Zealand conference with an 8-1 record.

Rennie is unconcerned by their average form following a defeat to the Stormers and three scratchy wins over the Cheetahs, Force and Sunwolves.

"We've got ourselves into a pretty good position on the table," he said.

"We're not firing as we want to but the key to winning the title is having momentum and playing your best footy at the end of the year so that's what we're working towards."

Rennie said the Chiefs set high expectations and hadn't been clinical enough of late.

"We're still adapting our game and you'll see a slightly different approach against the Reds," he said.

"It would be nice to put a team under pressure and put them away."

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