Big Chiefs back to face Reds




The Chiefs, fresh from their first Super 14 win of the season, were further boosted on Monday by the news that two of their top stars could be fit to face the Reds in Brisbane on Saturday.

All Blacks Jono Gibbes, the team’s regular captain, and loose forward Steven Bates are both on the mend and possible starters at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.

Gibbes injured his calf muscle in the Round Two encounter with the Hurricanes and have been making slow progress on the road to recovery. But the latest prognoses have him as a good bet to be fit. He will take part in full training this week and if he responds well he will be a possibility for selection.

Bates injured his ankle in training last week and missed the dramatic 34-7 win over the Lions in Hamilton last Friday. However, he has been making good progress and was also listed as a possible starter on Monday.

However, one other All Black star remains on the “unlikely to play” list, with lock Keith Robinson still struggling to overcome the calf injury that ruled him out of the encounter with the Lions. His return date is listed as “three to four weeks” by the Chiefs medical staff.

Centre Richard Kahui is another likely to be sidelined for a while longer, with his return date listed as two weeks.

Chiefs coach Ian Foster, who last week extended his contract to coach the franchise until 2009, will be able to call on his World Cup reconditioned All Blacks – scrum-half Byron Kelleher and wing Sitiveni Sivivatu.

Meanwhile All Black fullback Mils Muliaina, who fractured his fifth metatarsal in a warm-up game last week, has had a screw inserted into his foot.

365 Digital

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