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Chiefs will give McKenzie every chance to play

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

He's been bracketed in the position with his brother Marty, but Chiefs assistant coach Neil Barnes said the All Black had taken a 70-80 percent role in their final training run on Wednesday and a final decision that he was 100 percent right would be made before it was decided if he would play.

"If he's even got a little niggle we won't be using him," he said.

Lock Tyler Ardron had also been bracketed with Michael Allardice as a result of concussion suffered last week.

However, Barnes said Ardron had been showing no effects of the concussion and he was quite confident that when he got through his final test on Friday morning he would be right to play.

Barnes said the turnaround had been short for the Friday game so it had been a bit of a rush but it had gone well and they were happy with their preparation.

The Chiefs respected the Hurricanes' ability to struggle through for a win which they showed when scoring twice in the last few minutes against the Sharks to claim a victory.

"They're a team with a lot of composure and a lot of self-belief," he said.

"Right across the board they're an outstanding team and they're playing some very good rugby too so if you look across the country at the moment you'd have to say they're one of the form teams," he said.

It would be another local derby that was fought all the way to the final whistle but the Chiefs were intent on progressing their game and continuing that right through the season.

"We've shown in the last three or four weeks that we can take the game 80 minutes and keep people under pressure and we'll get the result we want at the end if we stay calm and composed in what we do. We'd certainly like them to function better in the time before that.

"The Blues, I think, are a team that are better than what their results show so they put us under a lot of pressure and we had to work hard to get the result we wanted but we're really pleased with the composure the boys showed," he said.

Barnes said the changes forced through injury in the backline especially had not hampered the side too much as there had been a reasonable amount consistency through their midfield. Johnny Faauli was doing a great job with Anton Lienert-Brown, he said.

In the absence of first choice halfback Brad Weber, back-up Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi had performed well.

"He's a good player, he's got a couple of years of Super Rugby under his belt and he's putting a lot of pressure on so he'll enjoy the opportunity again to put in a claim for the No.1 spot," he said.