Patrick McKendry is a rugby and boxing writer for the Herald.

Rugby: Kahui promises to lift his performance

Richard Kahui will take a leading role at the Chiefs in what is a changing of the guard.
Photo / Getty Images
Richard Kahui will take a leading role at the Chiefs in what is a changing of the guard. Photo / Getty Images

New season, new attitude. Richard Kahui yesterday admitted he has to improve his game at the Chiefs.

The World Cup winner knows there is little to gain from reflecting on past glories, especially at a franchise which has had precious little to celebrate and has lost the vastly experienced Mils Muliaina, Stephen Donald and Sitiveni Sivivatu to overseas clubs.

There is also a new coach in Dave Rennie and several new faces, including one Sonny Bill Williams, all of which have combined to inject Kahui with a new sense of purpose.

"To lose guys with so many Super Rugby caps and international caps is hard for a team to recover," Kahui said. "While we don't have so many stars here in the Chiefs franchise I think we've got a really good group of boys that can help each other out, with Craig Clarke and Liam Messam.

"I'm certainly willing to do my best off the field to get this team firing on it.

I think that starts here at training and making sure I'm working harder than anybody else and when I do get the chance to play that I'm playing as well as I can because I know in the past I haven't probably delivered as much on the field as I've needed to."

While Kahui, 26, played the majority of the World Cup on the wing, he will form an exciting centre partnership with Williams at the Chiefs following the former league player's move from the Crusaders. It's a prospect he is looking forward to.

"How could you not?" asked Kahui. "He's big. He's fast, the offloads and things he gets away. He grew massively with the All Blacks during the World Cup.

"The prospect of playing with someone of his calibre and his strength and size, I think it's not just going to be great for my game but certainly for the backline and the team in general. If we can get someone like him firing every week it's a good step towards winning this championship."

Whether Williams fires every week could be dependent on his boxing training schedule.

He has just returned from a four-week training camp in Sydney ahead of his New Zealand heavyweight fight against Richard Tutaki in Hamilton on February 8 and his extracurricular activities dulled his rugby edge at the Crusaders last season.

"I sat down with Dave [Rennie] and the coaching staff before the season started and we nutted out a plan and it's coming into place right now," Williams said.


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