Fresh from international duties, Chiefs halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow is fully focused on helping his team make another run at a Super Rugby title as the business end of the competition approaches.
It all begins again tonight for the defending champions as they return to action against a Hurricanes team who are still in contention with an outside chance to qualify for the playoffs.
The 22-year-old said preparations this week had been 'full on' as the team settled back into their routine and added the Chiefs would need to bring the right attitude and intensity because he anticipates a dangerous Hurricanes outfit will front up at Waikato Stadium.
"They're a real competitive side and you can't take nothing for granted really against any team in this competition.
"Our games are always really fast against them so I'm always blowing when we're playing but I look forward to it and I've got a few mates in there so it will be good to go up against them."
As well as the all important competition points up for grabs, Kerr-Barlow's match up against counterpart TJ Perenara is sure to be a pivotal one and the Chiefs No 9 was full of praise for the Hurricanes halfback.
Kerr-Barlow acknowledged that squaring off against Perenara would be a good match up to watch but admits he isn't focused on any individual battles as the Chiefs attempt to solidify their spot on top of the New Zealand conference.
"He [Perenara] is a good young person coming up through the ranks. He'll be going hard but I'll be going equally as hard so it'll be a good competition out there.
"But I don't really focus on playing my opposite, I'm just trying to fit into what the team is doing and hopefully they open up a fair opportunities for both of us and we'll just have to see how it goes."
Kerr-Barlow said it was great to be back within the All Blacks environment and was pleased to get some time out on the park in the tests against the French as he hopes to carry on his good form.
"It's a team you want to be in and an environment that you don't want to leave so you just got to play well and let your rugby do the talking."
But now Kerr-Barlow will be aiming to bring back the lessons he learned from his time in the All Blacks camp that will assist the Chiefs as they attempt to defend their title.
"I learned a lot in there [with the All Blacks] like dealing with pressure and all that, it's a pressure enviroment so is Super Rugby," he said.
"I picked up a few things in there and just try and bring them back here [to the Chiefs] and apply them and keep trying to improve, I don't really want to take a backwards step but if I do all the work hopefully I'll play good football."
It will be the Chiefs last home game of the round robin before playing their final two matchs on the road and Kerr-Barlow believes all matches from here on out will be crucial but insists the team continue to take things one game at a time.
"All our games from the Hurricanes onwards are vitally important in trying to get these home semis, but we just really take it a game at a time we dont really look beyond the Hurricanes too much," Kerr-Barlow said.
"We've got a job to go do and hopefully we're going to show up and do it."
Chiefs: Robbie Robinson, Lelia Masaga, Tim Nanai-Williams, Bundee Aki, Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Aaron Cruden, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Matt Vant Leven, Tanerau Latimer, Liam Messam, Brodie Retallick, Craig Clarke , Ben Afeaki, Hika Elliot, Pauliasi Manu. Reserves: Mahonri Schwalger, Ben Tameifuna, Michael Fitzgerald, Sam Cane, Augustine Pulu, Andrew Horrell, Charlie Ngatai.
Hurricanes: James Marshall, Matt Proctor, Conrad Smith (c), Reynold Lee-Lo, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Victor Vito, Karl Lowe, Brad Shields, James Broadhurst, Jeremy Thrush, Ben May, Dane Coles, Ben Franks. Reserves: Ash Dixon, Reggie Goodes, Mark Reddish, Faifili Levave / Blade Thomson, Chris Smylie, Tusi Pisi, Alapati Leiua
- Waikato Times
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