Chiefs not focusing on weakened Brumbies

Jul 13, 2017 - 11:05 PM The Chiefs are staying focused despite the Brumbies sending a weakened team into their final round-robin Super Rugby match in Hamilton.

The Australian Conference leaders have made 12 changes to their starting lineup from the side beaten last week by the Reds in Brisbane, as they rest players ahead of next weekend's home quarter-final.

Chiefs assistant coach Neil Barnes says his team have their own quarter-final planning to carry out so isn't getting caught up in the Brumbies' methods.

"We're concentrating totally on ourselves and how we play the game. We'll still respect whoever fronts up out there but this is all about us," Barnes said.

The Chiefs will be hoping they're the team that play in Canberra next week, rather than play a draining quarter-final in Cape Town against the Stormers.

To earn the shorter trip, they must first beat the Brumbies on Saturday afternoon and then hope the Crusaders beat the Hurricanes in Wellington later that night.

The Chiefs have rested three of their All Blacks -- Brodie Retallick, Sam Cane and Anton Lienert-Brown -- as they look ahead to the finals.

Barnes said it was about refreshing the key trio mentally, as much as physically, after the intense Test series against the British and Irish Lions.

"I'm sure they would play if asked but to have a week off to clear their heads and get their bodies right means they're going to be in a better space come the finals," Barnes said.

"I've got absolute faith in the guys that have trained behind them all year to do the job."

The Chiefs could struggle in the engine room after lock Dominic Bird was ruled out with a concussion.

Barnes said regular loose forward Mitchell Brown is capable of plugging the gap.

"He might not be as tall as the other guys but still very good at executing his roles," Barnes said.

It is highly unlikely the Chiefs will host a finals game this season, meaning the match is a home farewell for successful coach Dave Rennie, Test halves pair Aaron Cruden and Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Maori All Blacks winger James Lowe.

Source: AAP

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