Sweeney tipped to replace Robinson in Chiefs

BEN STRANG
Last updated 05:00 10/04/2014
Dwayne Sweeney
NZPA
IN CONTENTION: Dwayne Sweeney has returned from Japan.

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Robbie Robinson will be replaced in the Chiefs set up, and it could be by former Chief Dwayne Sweeney.

Sweeney has returned from a stint playing in Japan, and last played for the Chiefs in 2011, before coach Dave Rennie took charge at the franchise.

Rennie said Sweeney has been training at Chiefs HQ for the past three weeks while the team have been on tour, and looks in good order.

The 29-year-old could provide cover across the backline, and has made 32 caps for the team since 2007.

"There's a chance that he may be in the mix as well," Rennie said ahead of the Rebels game this weekend.

"It's possible. We're certainly going to replace Robbie, but with who is still uncertain.

"With Dwayne just arriving back in the country, and like I say he's been training here with our boys and made some big shifts.

"We're really happy with the way he's going, so he'll come into the mix in the next couple of weeks and we'll confirm that."

Rennie said Sweeney could fill several roles depending on what is needed at the time.

"It really depends on our needs. He's played all over the show. He can play fullback, wing, midfield, so that sort of fits in with us.

"We've got a lot of guys who play [anywhere] so he's got to get his head around our structures and that sort of thing first."

Number 8 Matt Vant Leven was also at Chiefs HQ yesterday morning, but Rennie said he will not be back at the franchise this year.

"I don't know, was Matty here this morning? He might have been using the gym, but he's tied up with Kobe in Japan."

Bundee Aki is back this weekend for the Rebels match, recovering from shoulder surgery in the off-season, and Rennie said he will provide X factor in the backline.

James Lowe and Charlie Ngatai are a couple of weeks away from returning, while Asaeli Tikoirotuma could be back any time in the next two to eight weeks, Rennie said.

Robbie Fruean is more than a month away, while Aaron Cruden is hoping to return for the Hurricanes match on May 24.

Rennie said despite the lengthy absentee list, he is happy with the strength of his backline heading into the Rebels match on Saturday.

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- Fairfax Media

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