Retallick up for a challenge
Brodie Retallick is braced for an intense climax to the Super Rugby season as the Chiefs fight tooth and nail to retain their title.
The men from Waikato currently find themselves atop of the New Zealand conference, three points clear of the Blues, six ahead of the Crusaders and a further five in front of the Hurricanes. However, with the Chiefs still having to play the Hurricanes and the Crusaders twice and the Blues once, the table could read very differently when the play-off participants are decided in mid-July.
Smacked in between those testing fixtures is a four-week break and Retallick knows that the upcoming period will be crucial.
"I think we've probably got to focus on these next two weeks coming into the June break and if we can get two good wins there we'll be sitting pretty well at the top there," Retallick told the <i>Dominion Post</i>.
"With the bye coming in the week before the three-week break we're going to have a month off and I think we've just got to be smart about what we do during that big break and make sure we still keep fit but come back fresh to finish those three games off and hopefully have a run in to the playoffs."
After a mixed bag of results in the first half of the season, the Chiefs have now reeled off three wins on the trot, but despite this Retallick believes there is much room for improvement and is confident that they will get firmly on the right track.
"I think everyone is getting a lot clearer on what we need to do and where we need to be," explained the 24-year-old.
"The coaches have set some good targets for where we need to get to in the next few weeks if we want to be in the running for the competition, because in the last few weeks we probably haven't quite been there.
"I think everyone is pretty clear and it's just the expectation of the players now that we make that benchmark."