Cane gets all clear for semi-final

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Lynn McConnell     29 Jul 2016     Getty Images

Rennie confirmed Cane had passed all his requirements after a precautionary exit from the Stormers game after a head knock at the weekend.


Leitch was named in the side for the game but is still to be confirmed. He had taken a full part in training on Thursday but it was a case of waiting until Friday to see how he came through.

"We expect him to be okay and we have named him in the group but he is obviously very experienced and it is great to have him back as an option," he said.

Leitch could be crucial because of his massive work rate and as a player who was good over the ball as well as being a good defensive player he could be useful coming off the bench after nearly two months out of action.

"Hopefully it's a point of difference coming off the bench. If you look at our bench, it is pretty good, we've played a lot of footy. There's a fair bit of experience there and he certainly adds to that," he said.

There had also been a return to Tawera Kerr-Barlow at halfback after Brad Weber had been preferred in Cape Town for last week's quarter-final.
"We're pretty lucky, we've got a couple of great options. We played Brad last week because we wanted to play the game [against the Stormers] at a really high pace. They're the type of team that spreads right across the field so his running game we felt was going to be really important.

"They're a little bit different the halfbacks. Kerr-Barlow's physicality, the strength of his defensive game and so on, we felt was going to be really important. 

"They both pass well, kick well but there are slight differences and it is likely to be fairly average weather at the weekend and it could be a bit of a battle of attrition around the edges so we thought Tawera would be important for us," he said.

Weber would then be able to come in when the defence was starting to tire a little.

Given the impressive display Hurricanes halfback TJ Perenara put on in difficult conditions last weekend against the Sharks in Wellington, Rennie said that hadn't been a factor in the choice of the more experienced Kerr-Barlow.

He said it was seldom halfbacks faced up to each other and it hadn't been part of the selection decision.

"They've got plenty of people who are pretty dangerous around the fringes. Ardie Savea carries a lot for them in there. To be honest, Brad has defended really well but it's a bit of a horses for courses thing this week and we think it is the best mix for us," he said.

Rennie said he understood that Hurricanes captain Dane Coles would be desperate to play and would be given every chance to front up, and that was what the Chiefs would do under the same circumstances.

Another boost for the Chiefs is the return of All Blacks centre Seta Tamanivalu to the starting line up after overcoming a knee injury.