Brad Weber: Chiefs veteran eyeing hotly contested All Blacks scrum-half spot
There have been several players who have caught the eye with their superb form for the Chiefs during their undefeated run in this season’s Super Rugby Pacific, and one of them has been experienced scrum-half Brad Weber.
His brilliant performances during his team’s nine successive victories has made him one of the Hamilton-based outfit’s standout performers, and his outstanding form should bring him into the conversation for All Blacks selection later this year.
Fringe player for All Blacks
The 31-year-old has won 18 Test caps since making his bow for New Zealand against Samoa in 2015 but has been a fringe player as the likes of Aaron Smith and TJ Perenara have worn the All Blacks number nine jersey in most internationals since Weber’s debut.
The battle for scrum-half spots in the All Blacks squad will be hotly contested as apart from Weber and Smith, the likes of Finlay Christie and Cam Roigard have also impressed in Super Rugby Pacific, while Perenara will also be in the mix as he makes his way back from an Achilles injury.
Weber is aware of the battle amongst New Zealand’s number nines but admits that he is happy with his current performances and is hopeful of being in the mix for the All Blacks.
“There are so many good nines around the country which is great,” he told Newshub. “It keeps everyone on their toes.
“But I can’t control anything that anyone else does. I’m focussing on my own performance and, to be honest – I’ve been really happy with my form this year.
“I think it’s some of the best rugby I’ve played in my career.”
There has been speculation that Weber is set to join Top 14 outfit Stade Francais at the end of the season.
“I just want to keep that [form] on, enjoy my time here at the Chiefs, try to win my first Super title, and that sort of stuff will take off itself,” he added.
“But certainly – personally – I’m really happy with how I’m going.”
Saturday’s victory for the Chiefs over the defending champions, the Crusaders, showed that there is improvement in Clayton McMillan’s team as they illustrated their ability to grind out wins.
Weber believes that despite their improvement, the Chiefs are still a work in progress which is a frightening prospect as they have already done so well this season.
“We’re certainly not the finished product yet, which means it’s exciting to see where this team can get to by the end of the season,” he said.
“We know that the stuff we’re producing now – by the time we get to the back end of the season – is not going to be good enough, so we’re going to have to keep going.”
The Chiefs are aiming to become the first team since the Crusaders in 2002 to lift a Super Rugby title without losing a match, and they are up against a struggling Highlanders side in Dunedin on Friday, while there are some tough battles lying in wait before they can achieve their ultimate goal.
Knows what to expect from Highlanders
Weber was part of a Chiefs side which suffered 11 successive losses between 2020 and 2021, so he knows what to expect when they face the Highlanders – who are on a three-game losing streak – this weekend.
“We’ve been in their shoes before when we’ve lost a few games, and we understand the fight and the desperation that’s there,” he said.
“If they beats us, that catapults their season all of a sudden, and they’re back on track.
“We’re very aware there’s a bit of a beast coming out this weekend, and hopefully we put another good performance out there… the Landers can shock anyone on their day.”
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