Having missed out on an All Blacks appearance during their three-Test series against England, Chiefs scrumhalf Tawera Kerr-Barlow is determined to make the next few weeks count with the back-to-back Super Rugby champions in danger of missing out on the playoffs.
The Chiefs are bottom of the New Zealand conference and ninth overall after a third successive loss. They need to win Friday’s derby clash with the Hurricanes to give themselves a chance of making the finals.
But Kerr-Barlow, who only got around 25 minutes off the bench against the Highlanders last Friday night, is not letting his limited opportunities in the past month play on his mind.
“No matter if I’m playing or not playing I still enjoy being part of the All Blacks and Chiefs environment,” the 14-Test All Black said.
Kerr-Barlow said there was a steely resolve within the group to make the playoffs despite the odds being stacked against them.
He is adamant the Chiefs can reproduce the form that took them to the title in 2012 and 2013.
“We’ve got a never-say-die attitude in this group. We know we’ve put ourselves in this position but we’re going in with the mindset that we want to make the finals.”
The Chiefs will need to improve their accuracy in attack, which has been an issue all season with knock-ons, stray passes and mistakes at the ruck proving costly.
But he believed only minor adjustments to the game plan and winning the territorial battle would ensure the Chiefs get back on track.
“It’s the minor tweaks that can have a big outcome on the match,” he said.
“Hopefully it’s a bit more of a polished performance on Friday.”