Chiefs change three for Blues
NEWS: Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan has named his Chiefs team to face the Blues on home soil following their 35-29 win over the Hurricanes last weekend.
McMillan has made three changes to his starting XV while two fresh faces will join the bench.
In the only change to the forward pack, rookie Samipeni Finau has been promoted from the bench to start at lock in place of All Black lock Tupou Vaa’i who has been ruled out after sustaining a concussion against the Hurricanes.
Sean Wainui has been named to start on the left wing in his 50th Super Rugby game. Wainui made his Super Rugby debut in 2016 for the Crusaders before heading north to pull on the Chiefs jersey in 2018. Māori All Blacks outside back Shaun Stevenson returns to start after in-form back Jonah Lowe was ruled out due to sickness.
Taranaki prop Reuben O’Neill returns to the twenty-three named on the bench. The Chiefs will welcome the return of powerful No.8 Pita Gus Sowakula to complete the changes to the bench.
McMillan said this weekend will continue to test our squad.
“The Blues are a quality team. They will be disappointed with aspects of their game from the weekend and will be determined to get back on track against us. We are prepared for the backlash and will be looking to build on last week’s performance.
“We have lost a couple of players to injury and sickness this week, but that provides others with the opportunity to put their hand up. We do welcome back Pita Gus Sowakula from injury, and it will be exciting to see the impact he has off the bench.”
McMillan finished commending Wainui on his impending achievement.
“Sean is a talented player and is a valued member of the Gallagher Chiefs whānau. It’s an achievement to clock up 50 Super games and we look forward to seeing his game continue to grow.”
Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Quinn Tupaea, 11 Sean Wainui, 10 Kaleb Trask, 9 Brad Weber (co-captain), 8 Luke Jacobson, 7 Sam Cane (co-captain), 6 Mitchell Brown, 5 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 4 Samipeni Finau, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 Aidan Ross.
Replacements: 16 Bradley Slater, 17 Ollie Norris, 18 Reuben O’Neill, 19 Simon Parker, 20 Pita Gus Sowakula, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Alex Nankivell, 23 Chase Tiatia.
Date: Saturday, March 27
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-off: 19.05 (06.05 GMT)
Referee: James Doleman
Assistant referees: Paul Williams, Angus Mabey
TMO: Aaron Paterson