The battle for a spot in the Chiefs loose trio next year is set to be intense, with the highly rated young Sam Cane set to challenge for a place alongside some established campaigners.
With Liam Messam, Scott Waldrom, Fritz Lee and Tanerau Latimer already on the books for the Waikato side young Cane, who picked up the award for the best age-group player in New Zealand this year, certainly has his work cut out for him if he wants to make the starting line-up.
Latimer, who has already racked up 63 Super Rugby caps at the age of 25, said that competition would be fierce with the likes of Bay of Plenty prodigy Cane looking to make a mark.
"Yeah I've got to watch my back now mate with these young fellas. I can't go telling them too many things," he told the Rotorua Daily Post.
The Chiefs have a new coaching staff in former Baby Blacks mentor Dave Rennie and former All Blacks backline coach Wayne Smith and with a host of talented players like Aaron Cruden and Sonny Bill Williams joining the franchise these are exciting times in Hamilton.
Cane, who was a finalist for the IRB's junior player of the year award this year, is ready to put in some hard work in pre-season to gain the respect of his peers, but added that he was looking forward to some healthy competition for places in the starting line-up.
"I think the best way to fit in and get respect is to do the hard yards on the field and show everyone you are here to push yourself and you are gonna work hard for the team. That's the best way you'll get respect from the older boys," he said.
"I don't think anyone here is certain on their spot, where they stand, everyone is pushing each other," Cane revealed.
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