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Chiefs' enthusiasm a bonus for Cooper

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Lynn McConnell     10 Jul 2018     Getty Images

Facing a Hurricanes side that stopped a run of losses last weekend, the Chiefs will welcome back All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick, although Cooper said he had to hold him off from wanting to play last weekend.


Another player grumpy at having to set out his clearance time was prop Nepo Laulala who faces a possible tick from his specialist next Monday.

"They're great men aren't they? I'd rather that than me going and asking guys 'are you OK?' These guys are banging on the door. That's the great thing in coming here to the Chiefs, they've got leadership like that, they're good men. We've got some great leaders here," Cooper said.

Retallick got a clearance on Friday and it was important he got the right contact preparation ahead of playing after a long break.

"When he plays he brings the kitchen sink with him so it's just about managing him," he said.

Laulala, if cleared, was likely to be considered for the match day 23 for the quarterfinal because he had been working hard in the interim, Cooper said.

Flanker Sam Cane, who passed his HIA after a head knock against the Brumbies, would not be risked on Friday while hooker Nathan Harris had a corked thigh and should be available for consideration. Centre Sean Wainui was likely to be unavailable for selection also.



Cooper said they would not be treating the game as a dead rubber and they would be going as hard as they could while there was also the incentive to acknowledge those players who would be having, prospectively, their last games in Hamilton.

They were looking to take that approach as the major consideration because he didn't want to clutter the players' minds with permutations of what might or might not happen.

The Chiefs were looking to maintain the confidence they had been playing with, and coping with the line speed the Hurricanes were likely to bring.

"We know they're going to bring a lot of physicality and we'll be the same," he said.

In an ideal scenario the Chiefs would like to be able to demonstrate the form and flair they showed in Suva against the Highlanders and being able to win quick ball would ensure the Hurricanes were faced with containing the Chiefs rather than the other way around.

The Blues, at the weekend, had been poor off their set-piece and that told the Chiefs they had to be better in that department.