Your chance to quiz Chiefs players

By Genevieve Helliwell

Standing together for a photo, Sonny Bill Williams takes a dig at his Chiefs teammate Tanerau Latimer about his undies.

The pair are playing up for the camera while trying to think of a secret they can share about midfielder Richard Kahui, who smugly pipes up: "You've got nothing on me. I don't get up to trouble."

Funny, 'cause he certainly looks like trouble with a bloodshot eye so puffy it's almost swollen shut and bruises all over his face.

"It's nothing serious, just a bit of bruising. For once it makes me look like a man so I'll take it," he says of the injury sustained while playing against the Sharks in South Africa in the last Super 15 game.

At the Chiefs' training session in Hamilton on Thursday, Williams, Kahui and Latimer shared a handful of secrets about themselves in preparation for a charity fundraising evening where the audience can pick their brains.<inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />

The trio and first-five Aaron Cruden, who survived testicular cancer, will come to Tauranga on May 9 for a question-and-answer evening to raise funds for Waipuna Hospice.<inline type="photogallery" id="12279" align="outside" embed="no" />

Each year, the hospice must raise $1.5 million and fundraising manager Trish Rae said this was one way of raising vital funds while also bringing some of the country's top rugby players to town to share their goals, passions, troubles and triumphs.

At the team training, Williams said it was more intimidating standing in front of a media scrum than in front of thousands of people at a sold-out stadium. He also shared the fact he was a trouble-maker at school because he had a short attention span and "liked to have a laugh with the boys".

Kahui said he was an exemplary student at primary school, "all right" at intermediate and "played up a bit" at high school. He would sneak out of class and devoted all his attention to rugby.

However, Kahui knuckled down in a building apprenticeship and became a qualified builder while playing rugby at an elite level. Growing up, he had a dog called Goldie and a cat named Jonah. He has no tattoos and his favourite colour is blue.

Latimer, a Te Puke local, said he was honoured to be a part of the Waipuna Hospice fundraiser as he had lost family members to cancer. As far as secrets to reveal: he is scared of heights, snakes and spiders and broke his arm when sleep-walking as a child. The first bone Williams broke was his big toe when he was about 10.

"I was chasing my sister around the house and I ran straight into the side of a chair. I wasn't allowed to play footy so I was really upset," he said.

But today, Williams and his teammates are injury free and hope to continue their franchise record of seven consecutive wins in the Super 15 competition. They hope to make it eight consecutive wins when they take on the Hurricanes tonight at Waikato Stadium. Williams said: "I think the reason behind our success is the camaraderie, the boys are playing for each other. We've got a lot of new faces but everyone's in the same boat. We've got nothing to lose and everyone is playing really well.

"But one of the biggest things is with most wins that we've had, the boys have been a little bit filthy with themselves about the way we've performed and we know we can play better so we're striving for that perfect performance."

Very few changes had been made to the Chiefs team through the first half of the campaign, which has put pressure on the likes of Williams and Kahui, who had played every game so far. Recovery and physio sessions are a key part of pre- and post-match preparations but the main reason the team is doing so well was because they had a strong group of 22 players week after week, Kahui says.

"It's nice to know we're making a bit of history but the history we want to make is: we want to win our first super title. And for that to happen we have to keep winning and keep improving as a team and this week is another chance for that."

The Chiefs, who traditionally were backs-dominated, appeared to have a strengthening forward pack, with prop Sona Taumalolo the top try scorer for the team and the competition. Kahui says the team's success is a combination of everyone doing their job.

"We've got Sona scoring tries up the front but we've got new guys Brodie Retallick and Sam Cane and those boys in the forward pack who are working really hard.

"Everyone's bringing things and adding something to the team, so I don't think you can have a successful team with one or two people playing well. You have to have the whole 15, or whole 22 every weekend, and that's what we've got at the moment."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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