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Damian McKenzie relishing return to action

All Blacks and Chiefs playmaker Damian McKenzie is looking forward to getting onto the field against the Brumbies in Canberra this Saturday.

Originally shaping to start the first game last week, McKenzie was a late withdrawal from the side which was beaten by the Highlanders.

"It was just a niggle to my ankle and more precautionary just to give it a week off," he told the All Blacks website. "Watching from the stands had been tough so it was nice to be back and available for selection.

"Last year was a massive learning curve. I guess as a 10 you are the driver of the team, your game management has got to be spot on.

"I felt like I learnt a lot during the Super season and then obviously being alongside two of the best 10s in the country, Beauden [Barrett] and Richie [Mo'unga] I learnt a lot off them as well so learning from them has brought a lot of excitement to bring back into the Chiefs."

He would be looking to emulate that in 2019 to drive the team around the park, he said.

McKenzie said his focus for the moment was playing every week for the Chiefs.

"For any Super team the greater goal is to win a championship and as a driver I would love to try and lead the team to something bigger like that," he added.

"So we know it is going to be focusing on each week, one week at a time and just trying to play good rugby so it's exciting to be able to get back out there this weekend to try and right a wrong from last weekend."

Having former All Black Stephen Donald back in the side was inspiring while having his knowledge to call on in a backline which was inexperienced but with a lot of talent was also useful.

"It's great to have that sort of leadership. Obviously we know what Beav's [Donald] done and to have him around the environment has done a lot of good things for us over the last couple of weeks," explained McKenzie.

There were some exciting players coming through and McKenzie said the new personnel had been impressive last weekend in the way they stepped up in their first games of Super Rugby.

"They've been great throughout training and they've got to stand up and lead as well even though they've only played one game we all try and chip in and get a job done collectively rather than one or two people taking a higher role," he said.

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