Chiefs have plenty to work on for opener

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Monday, February 20, 2017    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

And while history might favour the Chiefs in recent games against the Highlanders, coach Dave Rennie wasn't taken any history into the game.

"The New Zealand games are so tough and you have good runs against certain sides and other sides may have the wood on you, so every game we've gone into they have been arm wrestles and tight affairs.

"We certainly won't be reflecting on history because it really counts for nothing. It's what we put on the park on Friday night. They're a good side and tough at home.

"They put you under a hell of a lot of pressure and if you turn the ball over they can punish you and they defend for each other. You've got to go 80 minutes against them and you've got to hang onto some ball and build some pressure," he said.

Rennie said the Chiefs had struggled to get good set piece ball consistently during their warm-up games and that had frustrated them in getting their game going. There were also other elements that needed to be a lot better as well.

"What our 10s boys [the Chiefs won the inaugural Brisbane 10s] highlighted was the attitude that playing for something bigger than yourself can bring about the results. I think their intensity and enthusiasm was great so hopefully we need replicate this week against the Highlanders," he said.

They had come up against a fired-up Blues scrum in their warm-up game last week with former Chief Pauliasi Manu appearing for the Blues, but Rennie said they had plenty of confidence in their scrum.

"It got better as the game wore on so we need it to go well from the start.

A decision on whether flanker Sam Cane will play is being left until Wednesday with either Lachlan Boshier or Mitch Karpik getting a start in his absence.

Rennie said midfield back Charlie Ngatai, who has been suffering concussion since last year, was getting better. He was coming in to the side's base in the mornings and doing a little bit of work and they were going to build that up slowly.