The Chiefs will be forced to search for halfbacks following the three-week ban handed down to Finlay Christie, with 20-year-old Jonathan Taumateine set for a big role against the Sunwolves in Hamilton on Saturday.

Much will depend on the health of Tawera Kerr-Barlow, who left the field with concussion in his team's 16-7 victory over the Force in Perth, but with Christie set to miss his team's next three matches after being found guilty of "reckless" stamping or trampling on an opponent after replacing Kerr-Barlow against the Force, coach Dave Rennie will be looking for alternatives.

Brad Weber's broken leg in the Brisbane Global 10s has ruled him out for the season, so Taumateine, who has twice played brief roles off the bench for the Chiefs, is the only other choice for Rennie.

An option as cover would be Logan Crowley, who played for Canterbury in last season's Mitre 10 Cup before signing with Taranaki, and is currently touring Hong Kong with the development squad.


Former Waikato halfback Kevin Putt said it wouldn't be easy for an inexperienced player to go into the crucial position.

"The only thing I would say is coming into the Chiefs' environment for a young man ... and not having to do much more than worry about his own job [would mitigate against that]," Putt told Radio Sport.

"They've got a history of bringing guys through the system and being pretty seamless, but having said that your No9 is an important decision maker - jeez, the poor bugger is going to be under a heap of pressure to remember a heap of things. At worst, the Chiefs will just put their heads down and get on with it. What I've always loved about that franchise is that they don't bitch or moan."

Sanzaar's foul play review committee found Christie's offence to be at the "mid-range" level and have ruled him out of the matches against the Sunwolves, Reds and Crusaders.

The Chiefs, currently third on the Super Rugby table behind the Crusaders and Hurricanes, have a bye after the Reds game in New Plymouth before they play the Crusaders in Fiji on May 19.

"With respect to sanction the Foul Play Review Committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of 6 weeks," a Sanzaar release said.

"The committee viewed the player's action as reckless and although as a result of that action the player made contact with the forehead of the opponent, such contact was made with a comparative lack of force ... However, taking into account mitigating factors including the player's youth and inexperience, his excellent disciplinary record, his contrition and his early guilty plea, the Foul Play Review Committee reduced the suspension to 3 weeks."