McKenzie fresh and ready for finals push

By James Perry

Chiefs first five eighth Damian McKenzie is raring to go for this Friday night's Super Rugby quarterfinal against the Hurricanes.

McKenzie sat out the final round match against the Hurricanes as part of his mandatory All Black stand-down period.

While he says it's tough watching from the grandstands, he admits there are some upsides to it, "I prefer to be on the field but I guess the bonus is I'm fresher for this week and raring to go."

Even without McKenzie on the field, and despite having Charlie Ngatai withdraw late because of illness, the Chiefs still managed to come away from their final home game of the season with the win.

Coach Colin Cooper says having McKenzie back in the team will strengthen his side. 

"He's one of those guys I talk about with x-factor, and [I] don't want to clip his wings really.  He can make something out of nothing, can't he?"

The Chiefs will say goodbye to some of their players at the end of the season, including Ngatai and Liam Messam.

McKenzie says that it adds motivation to the squad to ensure they can hold off the farewells as long as they can. 

"Playoffs rugby, it's where you want to be at this time of the season.  Right at the start of the season this is the goal we set for them.  Yeah, it's an awesome motivation."

The Chiefs travel to Wellington later this week to play the Hurricanes on Friday night.