Hawke's Bay Today

Hammett expects Chiefs to be ready for rumble

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Pre-season results were never an indicator ahead of the Super Rugby season proper and Highlander­s assistant coach Mark Hammett said his attention had been more focused on his side than the Chiefs ahead of the season opener in Hamilton.

While a look would be taken at the Chiefs’ structures and what they were doing around their defence and attack variations, preparatio­n was about expecting the very best from the Chiefs when play started on Friday.

“The last couple of years we’ve had the very best out of them against us so we’re excited about that challenge up there, on their patch,” he said.

Hammett said the final preseason game against the Crusaders in Southbridg­e last Friday had been one of the most physical pre-season games he had seen and that was excellent for the southern side. They had taken lessons from the last 20 minutes of the game which they had not handled as well as they would have liked.

Bringing the All Blacks up to speed with the side was not an issue. They had been involved for the last three weeks and had a good idea of what was required.

“We keep in touch pretty closely and we have a pretty good relationsh­ip before Christmas-after Christmas so they are not really coming in cold. Our job is that come Friday night,t they are fresh and feel ready to go and are well prepared,” he said.

Former Fiji Sevens player and wing Tevita Nabura was out for the season after suffering an ACL injury at training last week and would be operated on next week. A replacemen­t was being sought.

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