Super Rugby Pacific: Chiefs co-captain Brad Weber hopes career-best form leads to All Blacks spot as halfback logjam looms

The Chiefs' bulldozing undefeated run through Super Rugby Pacific this season has had its fair share of heroes, not least of whom has been halfback and co-captain Brad Weber.

The pocket rocket's play has been a highlight of the team's streak to the top of the table, which extended to nine games with their gritty win over the defending champion Crusaders on Saturday.

His consistently high-quality performances have undoubtedly made an impact with All Blacks coach Ian Foster and his selectors in what's shaping as a competitive battle for one of the three halfback spots to  board the plane to the World Cup in France later this year.

Weber has spent the past couple of seasons on the fringe of test selection. After being overlooked for the July series against Irland and the Rugby Championship, Weber joined the All Blacks XV on their whistlestop tour to England and Ireland, before linking up with the All Blacks for their annual European tour.

Aaron Smith remains the incumbent in the black No. 9 jersey, but there's been increasing pressure from the likes of the Blues' Finlay Christie, his Highlanders back-up Folau Fakatava, and potential bolters such as Cam Roigard of the Hurricanes, while veteran TJ Perenara lurks on the sidelines recovering from his long-term achilles injury.

But if Weber's refreshingly honest self-assessment of his form is anything to go by, it's likely we'll see the Napier product add to his 18 test caps this year.

Weber in action for the All Blacks.
Weber in action for the All Blacks. Photo credit: Getty Images

"There are so many good nines around the country which is great," Weber 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."

The 32-year-old seems destined to join the post World Cup player exodus, with widespread speculation he's signed a multi-year deal with French Top 14 side Stade Francais.

"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 of itself."

"But certainly - personally - I'm really happy with how I'm going."

Saturday's dogged win over the Crusaders was further proof of how far the Chiefs have come in recent years, showcasing their ability to grind out victory against a formidable opponent, despite not being at their best.

Weber admits his team is still some way short of their ceiling and will need to improve considerably if they're to contend come playoffs time.

"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 noted.

"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."

Their bid to become the first undefeated team since the Crusaders of 2002 continues this weekend against the struggling Highlanders - part of a final stretch that includes mouthwatering matchups against the Hurricanes and the Brumbies in consecutive weeks later this month.

A member of the Chiefs team that endured the ignominy of their record 11-game losing streak that stretched from 2020 to 2021, Weber knows all too well the sense of desperation the Highlanders - who have lost three straight games - simmering in Dunedin this week.

"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."