The Chiefs' first seven games of the Super Rugby season have promised plenty, but their remaining eight look even more encouraging.

Sitting just two points behind the league-leading Crusaders is satisfactory enough, but the Chiefs will have the added advantage of a slew of internationals returning to the field within the next few weeks.

The most notable potential returnee is one-test All Black Charlie Ngatai, who hasn't pulled on the headgear since May last year due to concussion symptoms. However, the savvy midfielder is set to play for University in Waikato's club competition today as he builds towards a potential Super Rugby return.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie is excited about Ngatai's return to the field. "There was a lot of self-doubt about whether he would play again; it's been a long process. He's been doing contact work for about a month just to make sure he's really confident and getting his body back in the right sort of shape," Rennie told Radio Sport.


"For me, he was one of the best players in Super Rugby last year until he got injured; he's got a massive amount to offer New Zealand rugby so [it's] hugely exciting for us if we can get him back for the second half of the comp."

Two other recent All Blacks are also set to again don Chiefs colours in the next few weeks, with prop Nepo Laulala a chance to play next week, and hooker Nathan Harris shortly after.

Also eyeing an impending return off the casualty list are Tim Nanai-Williams, Mitch Brown and Michael Allardice, promising a deep squad capable of contention.

To ensure the Chiefs are in the best possible position when the cavalry arrives, they will need to beat the Western Force tonight -- a task potentially made tougher by the circumstances surrounding their opposition.

The Perth franchise has been pegged alongside the Melbourne Rebels as candidates to be the Australian side axed from Super Rugby, giving them extra incentive to perform. Add in the fact they are coming off a bye week, and they have similarities to the Cheetahs outfit who gave the Chiefs a fright last weekend.

Rennie is aware that the Force's flux could provide them some extra desperation. "They're desperate to still be in Super Rugby and want to put [in] a performance on the field that reflects that."

Despite that, the Chiefs should still be too far too good for the two-win Force. The Force have scored the second fewest tries in the competition - an ominous statistic when contrasted with the Chiefs' elite goalline defence. The Chiefs often bend - opponents kick a Super Rugby-best three penalties a game against them - but rarely break, conceding a competition-low 1.9 tries per contest.

With home games looming against the Sunwolves and Reds, it looks like the best is yet to come for the Chiefs.