Super Rugby

Ngatai back in Chiefs colours

Charlie Ngatai (Gallo Images)
Charlie Ngatai (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Charlie Ngatai is set to return to Super Rugby this weekend, one day short of a year since he suffered his long-standing concussion.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie said Ngatai was ready for selection for their Round 11 clash against the Reds in New Plymouth on Saturday (kick-off at 09:35 SA time), after three club rugby appearances.

According to the Stuff website, Ngatai suffered the head knock against the Highlanders on May 7 last year and despite it not even being picked up on the TV cameras, it kept him out of the game until last month.

Ngatai, still only 26, returned to the field on April 22, playing 40 minutes at fullback for University, before 80 minutes at inside centre on ANZAC Day, then another 80 at flyhalf on Saturday.

Rennie said Ngatai was "ready to go" and was confident that, if they chose to start him, he could last 80 minutes.

His return marks a rags-to-riches look to the Chiefs midfield stocks, with Johnny Fa'auli available again following a four-week suspension and Tim Nanai-Williams also likely to be right after a shoulder injury suffered in Round 3 against the Hurricanes. Anton Lienert-Brown, Stephen Donald, Sam McNicol and Alex Nankivell have occupied the midfield in the meantime and remain in the frame.

The Chiefs will also hope to have scrumhalf Tawera Kerr-Barlow back from concussion, which kept him out of last weekend's win over the Sunwolves.

The good news keeps coming from the sick bay, with outside back Chase Tiatia (ankle) recently back off the injured list, while lock Michael Allardice (knee then calf) and hooker Nathan Harris (knee) are available for the first time this season, having got through club rugby last weekend.

The Chiefs are intent on bouncing back from the lacklustre 27-20 win over the Sunwolves, whose scrum Rennie labelled "a nuisance" in a game that "sort of struggled to get out of second gear".

The Chiefs are currently in second place in the New Zealand Conference with eight wins from their nine matches to date, despite a heavy injury toll.

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