The Chiefs head into their Super Rugby opener against the Blues with all eyes locked on the squad selection.
The squad for the Blues match is expected to be announced on Thursday.
A handful of All Blacks will not feature in the Chiefs opening round of Super Rugby against the Blues. All Black players confirmed to not be available for opening round are Aaron Cruden and Liam Messam.
Brodie Rettalick is also unlikely to feature on Saturday night.
Coach Dave Rennie confirmed that the selection of the crucial first five eighth position is now down to a battle between the McKenzie brothers of Damian and the older, more experienced, Marty.
“They stood up really well and will duel it out again this weekend” Rennie said.
Andrew Horrell is the other option at first five but has been under an injury cloud for the entirety of the pre season, and despite training with full contact and kicking during today’s practice, Andrew Horrell will not be available for the Blues match this weekend.
Horrell is expected to be a part of the development squad for Saturdays curtain raiser.
Damian McKenzie featured in Fridays final pre season game against the Waratahs, a squad jam packed with Wallabies regulars including Adam Ashley Cooper, Michael Hooper, Kurtely Beale, and Israel Folau.
McKenzie admitted to being a bit star struck early on during the occasion.
“I was a bit star struck at first and nearly fell off my seat when I saw the squad. People you’ve looked up to when you were younger so it was awesome to play against them.”
The Chiefs posted 77 points in their two pre season games, comprehensively beating the Blues and narrowly losing to the Waratahs.
In the absence of regular Chiefs loose forward Liam Messam, much confidence can be taken in the likely selection of Tevita Koloamatangi who scored twice during the pre season, including an effort where he outran Kurtley Beale.
James Low is also viable option on the wing if he is fit enough after getting two tries in the Chiefs first trial game.