Chiefs blend youth with experience

Date published: January 18 2016

Dave Rennie's extended 40-man Super Rugby squad contains an exciting combination of debutants and All Blacks and the franchise are enthusiastic by what the 2016 season might hold.

Next week the entire group will go away on a week long training camp and 12 former or current All Blacks will meet the 14 new players ahead of the Waikato outfit's opening game against the Crusaders on the 27th of February.

“I think we’ve got a really well-balanced squad and it’s going to prove an exciting team,” co-captain Sam Cane told the NZ Herald.

“We’ve got quite a few guys who have actually tasted the All Black environment, even if it wasn’t for that long.

“And we’ve got guys who are first-year in Super Rugby and they’re pushing guys like myself who have been here a little bit longer.

“Hopefully, by the end of the year, a few of these new boys will be stepping up as starters and people will know a lot more about them."

Part of the reason why the Chiefs will have so many fresh faces in their squad is due to the likes of Ben Tameifuna, Matt Symons, Mike Fitzgerald, Tom Marshall, Hosea Gear, Bryce Heem and Tim Nanai-Williams all heading abroad to continue their careers for one reason or another.

Furthermore, Liam Messam and Sonny Bill Williams are also currently away as they are focusing their energy on their preparations for the Olympic Sevens later in the year.

Whilst some might see the departure of so many key players as a huge loss, Aaron Cruden simply believes that if the squad can bond and become close then they will have every chance of being successful.

“The way we’ve all bonded already has been good for us,” said co-captain Cruden.

“Hopefully that continues throughout the season. It’s going to need to if we want to be right up there come the end.”