Brad Weber is excited and keen to make the most of his new senior role as the Chiefs number one halfback.
Scoring a hat-trick of tries during the Chiefs preseason victory over the Brumbies in the last week was a good way to exhibit such enthusiasm. The stellar performance was the perfect way to return to a team that Weber was forced to sit and observe during the 2017 season.
That was after fracturing the femur in his leg, an injury that required immediate surgery; which ruined his 2017 year, and saw more than a half-year on the sidelines.
Brad Weber Embracing Senior Role at injury hit Chiefs
Back and fully firing in 2018, Brad Weber told media that the past couple of months haven’t just been as simple as enjoying the experience of being back in the playing group. The Hawke’s Bay native has matured, has healed injuries of the past and is ready for the senior role.
“It’s been tough, along with the hot weather in Hamilton these new coaches have been keen to stamp their mark and they’ve been thrashing us really hard”.
Weber slogged his way through the tough preseason – highlighted by that personal hatrick in the match against the Brumbies – all with the knowledge that a key role awaits in 2018.
— Rugby Heaven (@NZRugbyHeaven) February 14, 2018
Now the senior halfback in the squad; following the departure of Tawera Kerr-Barlow, the 27-year old is keen to embrace his newfound leadership role in the Chiefs backline. But as a former captain of Waikato and current co-captain of Hawke’s Bay, Weber is no stranger to such pressure – albeit at the Mitre 10 Cup level [see main picture].
Going on his captaincy experience in that arena, Weber says the key will be for him to not panic and maintain his emotional composure when things don’t go right on the field. Weber told LWOR;
“The senior role has been forced upon me with the likes of Tawera and Aaron leaving. there is a bit of a void in the backline but, being put into leadership positions is nothing new to me”.
Brad Weber has played 41 games for the Chiefs, and has scored six tries for the franchise. Weber is also a one-time All Black and a regular for the Maori All Blacks.
Chiefs hit by Injuries heading into Week Two Derby
The Chiefs will go into their opening regular season game, with several players unavailable due to injury. Shaun Stevenson; expected to play at fullback, suffered a slight calf injury during the last preseason hit out and will not be considered for selection.
Now, unfortunately fellow utility-back Tim Nanai-Williams will miss a large chunk of the season due to a shoulder injury that head coach Colin Cooper relayed to the group of reporters, could either require surgery or a long rehab stint to fix.
As well, winger Sam McNicol is also unavailable due to a continued battle with a concussion.
In the forwards, senior prop Mitch Graham continues his return from surgery, but in a point of ‘good news’ a fresh injury to Sosefo Kautai adds some experience off the bench, behind Kane Hames and Atu Moli who are expected to start on Saturday in Christchurch.
Charlie Ngatai named co-Captain of 2018 Chiefs Group
Sam Cane, unavailable to speak to media on Monday due to illness, resumes his co-captaincy role at the Chiefs in 2018. The experienced All Black flanker will be joined in 2018 by Charlie Ngatai. A step up for the Taranaki center, who sadly says goodbye to the squad at the conclusion of the season.
Along with Weber, and the key figure of Damian McKenzie at first-five, the 2018 Chiefs team will look to return to the winners circle.
The Chiefs face the 2017 champion Crusaders at home, on Saturday February 24.
“Main photo credit”
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