Johan Bardoul has one clear goal ahead of the revamped 2016 Super Rugby season that kicks off in a fortnight - to wear the Chiefs No 6 starting jersey.

With All Blacks blindside flanker Liam Messam committed to winning a medal at the Rio Olympics with the All Blacks Sevens, the race is on to replace him.

And Bardoul wants the job.

The 28-year-old Bay of Plenty Steamers flanker made a major impact in his first season in Super Rugby last year and is ready to step up.

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"With Liam Messam moving on to sevens I have set a goal of trying to cement that No 6 jersey and being an option to cover lock as well.

My big focus is to be in form and get that jersey," Bardoul said.

"Coming into my second campaign, I learnt a lot around how important recovery is with the season being so long and what it takes to start at Super Rugby level for a good franchise.

"I am probably not as nervous as I was last year being fresh to Super Rugby. I sort of know what it takes now so hopefully I can give it a good crack."

Bardoul has been frustrated by a niggling groin injury that has lingered since the final game for Bay of Plenty in the ITM Cup back in October.

"It has taken ages to come right but it is pretty good now. I got back running last week when we were on camp and I am right back into it now which is good."

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The new-look playing roster at the Chiefs this year includes six Bay of Plenty players in Bardoul, Sam Cane, Nathan Harris, Siegfried Fisiihoi, Chase Tiatia and new signing from Auckland in openside flanker Mitch Karpik.

"It is always good to have a few more boys from the Bay in the Super environment.

"Moving into [Mitre 10 Cup] after this it will be good as we will have a bit more experience at that higher level which will help our Bay team," Bardoul said.

Johan Bardoul scores a try at last year's ITM Cup Bay of Plenty vs Wellington at ASB Stadium. Photo/file
Johan Bardoul scores a try at last year's ITM Cup Bay of Plenty vs Wellington at ASB Stadium. Photo/file

"Mitch is going real good. He is going to be a real asset to the Bay. There is no doubt about that. He is earning his stripes at training as well."

The Chiefs play top class Australian outfit the Waratahs in a pre-season game at Rotorua's International Stadium at 4pm next Friday.

Bardoul is looking forward to another rare Chiefs game in the Bay of Plenty.

"It is always good playing there. It was definitely a memorable one against the Bulls last year to be able to run out on that stadium in a Chiefs jersey. Being from the region means it is a great honour and it will be no different next week.

"It will be awesome to play in front of a home crowd there. It is an important game for everyone obviously with selections up for grabs."

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