Chiefs get All Black muscle back
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Chiefs coach Colin Cooper has made three changes to his starting XV, for their must-win Super Rugby Round 18 encounter with the Rebels in Melbourne on Friday.
The Chiefs are determined to put on a performance worthy of a spot in the quarterfinals next week.
All three changes feature in the forward pack.
Consistent performer Angus Ta’avao will start at tighthead prop, with Nepo Laulala primed to make an impact off the bench in jersey 18.
Nathan Harris returns refreshed from All Blacks leave to start at hooker.
Co-captain Brodie Retallick returns from injury eager to impress at lock, combining with workhorse Tyler Ardron.
Joining Laulala on the reserves bench is explosive hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho and versatile loose forward Jesse Parete.
Cooper said the Chiefs were excited for the challenge this weekend.
“It is great to have key men like Brodie and Nathan return for this game,” Cooper said.
“We are really looking forward to taking on the Rebels in Melbourne on Friday.
“There’s plenty to play for, for both teams.
“It will be a fantastic contest for spectators to enjoy.
“The team is excited to put on performance our fans will be proud of back at home,” added Cooper.
Chiefs: 15 Solomon Alaimalo, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Alex Nankivell, 11 Sean Wainui, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Pita Gus Sowakula, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Lachlan Boshier, 5 Tyler Ardron, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Atu Moli.
Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Aidan Ross, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Jesse Parete, 20 Mitchell Jacobson, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Tumua Manu.
Date: Friday, June 14
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-off: 19.45 (21.45 NZ time; 09.45 GMT)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), Graham Cooper (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)