27 Feb 2012

Chiefs face tough time regrouping for Blues clash

7:13 am on 27 February 2012

The Crusaders and Highlanders sit atop the New Zealand Super Rugby conference after the opening round of competition, with the Blues and Chiefs third equal and the Hurricanes last.

However the Chiefs are in by far the worst position of the New Zealand franchises after suffering a massive injury toll during their home loss to the Highlanders.

Five front-line players are set for extended spells on the sidelines, including starting props Ben Afeaki and Toby Smith, as well as former All Blacks halfback Brendon Leonard and wing Lelia Masaga.

Coach Dave Rennie will also be without No.8 Alex Bradley for at least three weeks with an ankle injury.