Brodie Retallick set to return for Chiefs
Cape Town - Chiefs second-rower Brodie Retallick has recovered from injury and will be in the selection mix for his team's clash with the Hurricanes in Hamilton on Friday.
Kick-off is at 09:35 SA time.
In his absence the Chiefs have regained some of its attacking momentum with impressive first half displays against the Highlanders and Brumbies laying the foundations for crucial wins which have assured the side of a playoff place.
The nature of the draw could see the two protagonists playing each other on consecutive weekends, the only difference being the prospective venue with the quarter-final in Wellington, unless it can achieve a bonus point and a winning margin of more than 23 points.
Retallick said he got back into training last week with the team and it had been good to be back among the action.
"The body's in good shape now - a fair bit of running in the time off," he told the All Blacks' official website.
Coping with being unable to play was not an issue as he felt he always handled that well but he did say in seven years of top rugby this had been his worst year for injuries and hopefully it would remain that way. But, he said, there were other players who had worse injuries than he had suffered.
The injury was a broken bone in his shoulder which was attached to his pectorals and biceps. There wasn't a lot of pain involved with it but an X-ray revealed the damage and it was a six-week recovery time.
He had been able to maintain running and gym work and felt that would help him around the park when returning to play but the pushing and getting up off the ground could be more demanding.
Uncertain of how many minutes play he might get on Friday he was keen for a good hit out ahead of next week's quarter-final.
"It has worked out pretty well," said Retallick.
The game would be an important one for the side as it could be the last game for some players at FMG Stadium, especially Liam Messam, and they were keen to give those players a good send-off.
There was still a mathematical chance they could win hosting rights for a semi-final but that wasn't the main consideration for Friday. Winning was the priority.
"It's a pretty big margin we have to win by to have a home quarter but we'll just go out there and work on the things we have been," added Retallick.
"We've played pretty well in the first half in the last two matches and then dropped away. That's our focus heading into this weekend by trying to build some momentum with an 80-minute performance."
Restricting the chances for Hurricanes flyhalf Beauden Barrett and inside centre Ngani Laumape to make use of front-foot ball would be a key to containing their firepower.