Chiefs bench All Black scrumhalf
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan has named his team to face the Melbourne Rebels in Sydney following a disruptive week.
The originally scheduled home game fixture at Waikato Stadium will now take place at Leichhardt Oval in Sydney.
Three changes have been made to the Chiefs forward pack; loosehead prop Reuben O’Neill and hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho will join Angus Ta’avao in the starting front row. They will be ably covered by a consistent reserve front row of Bradley Slater, Ollie Norris and Sione Mafileo.
A youthful locking combination of Josh Lord and Tupou Vaa’i will start, with Mitchell Brown covering on the bench. Chiefs No.8 Luke Jacobson will wear the captain’s armband and lead the side this Sunday.
In the backline Xavier Roe will make his first start in the No.9 jersey shifting Brad Weber to cover on the bench. Roe will combine with Bryn Gatland in the halves.
Gatland takes over from the suspended Damian McKenzie.
Quinn Tupaea gets the nod to start and will combine with Anton Lienert-Brown in the midfield, while Nankivell will shift to the bench named in jersey No.22. An exciting back three has been named featuring Bailyn Sullivan on the left wing, Shaun Stevenson on the right and Kaleb Trask at fullback. Chase Tiatia will look to make an impact off the bench in jersey No.23.
McMillan said: “We were deeply disappointed we were unable to return home to face the Melbourne Rebels this weekend. Our preference was to play at home in front of our whanau, members, fans, and stakeholders. But we hope we get a good contingent of local Sydney Chiefs fans to come along and support us at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday.”
“We have learnt in this new normal you need to be adaptable and despite the changes, the team has continued to prepare well. We are expecting a big game from the Melbourne Rebels, as a team we want to show those back home a performance they can be proud of and give them something to celebrate.”
Chiefs: 15 Kaleb Trask, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Quinn Tupaea, 11 Bailyn Sullivan, 10 Bryn Gatland, 9 Xavier Roe, 8 Luke Jacobson, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Pita Gus Sowakula, 5 Tupou Vaa’i, 4 Josh Lord, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 Reuben O’Neill.
Replacements: 16 Bradley Slater, 17 Oliver Norris, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Mitch Brown, 20 Zane Kapeli, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Alex Nankivell, 23 Chase Tiatia.
Date: Sunday, June 6
Venue: Leichhardt Oval, Sydney
Kick-off: 15.00 (17.00 NZST; 05.00 GMT)
Referee: Graham Cooper
Assistant referees: Brendon Pickerill, Ben O’Keeffe
TMO: Shane McDermott