By CHRIS RATTUE
Todd Miller will make a fleeting reappearance for the Chiefs in Brisbane on Saturday night before heading to the sidelines again because of his religious beliefs, which prevent him playing on Sundays.
But while some may question a player standing himself down in top-level professional sport, Miller's stance has never been a problem for Chiefs coach Ross Cooper.
Bruce Reihana's erratic game at fullback for the Chiefs against the Hurricanes meant it was an even-money bet that the diminutive but explosive Miller, a non-test All Black in 1997, would return.
He missed the first two Super 12 matches this year because of his beliefs, and was left out against the Hurricanes Miller's return will reunite him with his Waikato outside back comrades Reihana and Roger Randle against the Reds at Ballymore, a match which is followed by Sunday games at home for the Chiefs against the Stormers and Waratahs.
Cooper never had qualms about including Miller in his squad this year, even though the Chiefs have four Sunday games, particularly as there are a number of players in the squad who can play fullback.
"I've admired Michael Jones for years and I would certainly never hold anything against people who make that stand for their beliefs," said Cooper.
"I've never called Todd in for an interview about it, although it may have been discussed in general, and he is aware that it can make things difficult for us on occasions.
"He is a lovely guy who really has his head screwed on when it comes to rugby and life, and he is someone who never plays a bad game. He's not a player who has highs and lows.
"I know that his stance, plus all his injuries, has made it harder for him to get back in the All Blacks. He knows that the selectors are looking for consistent form throughout the Super 12 and it is a hard for him to do that.
"I suppose he has become a bit of a forgotten man but we're hoping he can really remind people of his ability on Saturday night."
A variety of injuries meant Miller got on the field only for brief appearances against the Crusaders and Blues last season.
But his return this week was mandatory after Reihana turned over a heap of possession, mainly through a succession of chip-kicks, against the Hurricanes.
However, flanker Nick Holten, battling back from a shoulder reconstruction and hamstring injury, injured his back in training yesterday and is unlikely to leave with the team this afternoon. Cooper has rotated his hookers, meaning Greg Smith will start ahead of Paul Mitchell.
Meanwhile, the Reds will have Wallaby loose forward Matt Cockbain back from a broken thumb, although he may be on the bench.
Star midfield backs Tim Horan and Daniel Herbert are given reasonable chances of playing after injuries meant they missed the loss to the Crusaders.
But fullback Chris Latham, the Reds star last week, is rated at only 40-60 because of deep bruising to the leg.