The Chiefs are close to welcoming back some “big dogs” – and no player wants to be left more desperate than Brodie Retallick.
The All Blacks lock suffered a broken thumb during the Crusaders’ defeat of the Chiefs in late March, leaving them on the sidelines for up to two months.
Tomorrow’s game against the Brumbies in Hamilton marks six weeks since the injury and coach Clayton McMillan says Retallick will likely be available for next weekend’s trip to Melbourne to face the Rebels.
Which is good news for the All Blacks, Chiefs, Retallick and listening to his coach.
“We have some of these big dogs coming back next week,” McMillan said. “[Retallick has] I need to do another scan, I think, and it will be up to the surgeon to determine if it is available or not.
“But he’s definitely dropped my eardrums a bit for his availability.”
Midfielder Brad Weber (neck) and top five Josh Ioan (side) are the other injured front-line players who will be available again in Melbourne. But Retallick’s recall would be particularly gratifying for a team that has spent the last two seasons without his services.
The 30-year-old returned to Super Rugby this year after a stint in Japan with the Kobelco Kobe Steelers, playing only in the first six weeks of competition before injury.
McMillan said the injured thumb limited Retalik to contact training, but the 90-test veteran did enough work to maintain his fitness.
“He’s running well, but I’m not sure how it affected his weight,” said the coach. “I heard someone say the other day that he was really healthy, not where he was in Japan.
“He knows how to hit the ground running, so when he gets back on the field I imagine it won’t take him long to get back to speed.”
Retallick’s return to action will be a major boost for a team of Chiefs that will be in fourth place before tomorrow’s clash with the Brumbies in second place. They will finish the regular season with games against the low Rebels, Force and Fijian Drua, with their eyes fixed on a home quarterfinal.
However, the McMillan team will be left without the services of supporter Sione Mafileo (neck) and loose striker Simon Parker (shoulder), with injuries ending their season.
Chiefs v Brumbies
Saturday, May 19, Hamilton
Leaders: Kaleb Trask, Jonah Lowe, Alex Nankivell, Quinn Tupaea, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Bryn Gatland, Cortez Ratima, Pita Gus Sowakula, Sam Cane (c), Luke Jacobson, Tupou Vaa’i, Josh Lord, Angus Ta’avao, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Aidan Ross.
Reserves: Bradley Slater, Ollie Norris, Atu Moli, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Samipeni Finau, Xavier Roe, Rameka Poihipi, Emoni Narawa.
The All Blacks stars are about to return for the Chiefs
Source link The All Blacks stars are about to return for the Chiefs