Patrick McKendry 's Opinion

Patrick McKendry is a rugby writer for the Herald.

Patrick McKendry: Chiefs look to snare three big names

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The Blues are chasing Jerome Kaino hard too, with coach Sir John Kirwan talking to him on a recent trip to Japan. Photo / Getty Images
The Blues are chasing Jerome Kaino hard too, with coach Sir John Kirwan talking to him on a recent trip to Japan. Photo / Getty Images

Sonny Bill Williams, Julian Savea, Jerome Kaino; the Chiefs aren't looking to build a squad for next year, they want to make a monster.

Of the three high-profile and high-impact players they are seeking, Dave Rennie will be most confident of signing Williams, but given the reputation the franchise is building as a successful and sound environment, the Chiefs coach will have good grounds to believe he can snare the lot as he seeks to win a third title on the trot.

Yesterday's Herald on Sunday revealed Williams' concerns at the punishment his body is taking as a marked man at the Roosters in the NRL could be the deciding factor to link with Rennie again after his success in Hamilton last year. League commentator Andrew Voss yesterday tweeted the 28-year-old former All Blacks midfielder will sign this week, suggesting the player's manager Khoder Nasser's flights are already booked.

Williams could link with his cousin Tim Nanai-Williams or Charlie Ngatai in the Chiefs midfield next season, a high-class replacement for the injury-prone Richard Kahui who has left for Japan.

All Blacks wing Savea and former All Blacks loose forward Jerome Kaino are less certain to join, but the Chiefs have as good a chance as any to secure their services for next season and beyond. The Crusaders are also in the hunt for Hurricane Savea but the Chiefs would have put an emphasis on the quality of coaching he would receive under Wayne Smith.

Having the blockbusting 23-year-old as an option inside Aaron Cruden - with the equally dangerous Williams outside the All Blacks No10 - would made any opposing team's defensive coach lose sleep.

The Blues are chasing Kaino hard too, with coach Sir John Kirwan talking to him on a recent trip to Japan. Kirwan said the meeting was a positive one, adding the 30-year-old, who played 48 tests, was a "real Blues man".

Certainly, it would be interesting to watch Kaino, who would probably play No8, operating in a loose forward trio including the promising blindside flanker Steven Luatua, but equally as exciting would be watching him play alongside Liam Messam and Sam Cane at the Chiefs. The Chiefs' helter-skelter type attack could suit Kaino now he has two years of the fast Japanese game under his belt.

Williams' signature will give the Chiefs the inside running on adding to their two titles next season, but the capture of Savea and Kaino too would make them unbackable favourites.

The attacking abilities of the first two, combined with the destructiveness on defence of the latter, would make an already excellent and well-coach outfit one capable of tearing any team apart.

If nothing else, it shows Rennie and Co aren't prepared simply wait for another title to come to them. They're showing ambition and that's a pre-requisite for franchises looking to build dynasties.

- NZ Herald

Patrick McKendry

Patrick McKendry is a rugby writer for the Herald.

Rugby writer Patrick McKendry began his journalism career 20 years ago and has worked in newspapers in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. He worked in a communications role on his return here before joining APN before the 2011 World Cup.

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