Chiefs move McKenzie for Crusaders clash
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Chiefs return home this Saturday to take on current Super Rugby Aotearoa competition leaders and defending champions the Crusaders.
Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan has named a strong twenty-three for the clash.
New Plymouth Old Boys loose forward Lachlan Boshier will return from injury for his first start of the 2021 Super Rugby Aotearoa season in the No.7 jersey. He will shift younger brother Kaylum Boshier to the bench to cover in jersey twenty in the only change to the Chiefs starting forward pack.
Chiefs co-captain Brad Weber will combine with All Blacks playmaker Damian McKenzie in the halves. Hautapu midfielder Alex Nankivell is promoted to start at twelve after Quinn Tupaea was sidelined with a knee injury. Rangataua fullback Chase Tiatia will start in the No.15 jersey to complete an exciting backline.
In the reserves, Te Puke Sports hooker Nathan Harris will make his long-awaited return off the bench, alongside tighthead prop Sione Mafileo. In the backs, Hamilton Old Boys flyhalf Bryn Gatland earns his place on the bench and will be joined by experienced New Plymouth Old Boys wing Sean Wainui to round out the No.23.
McMillan said the Chiefs need to deliver a clinical performance.
“The Crusaders have proven year after year they are a formidable side that must be respected. They do the simple things extremely well and can suffocate you through their set piece. But they have been challenged in areas of their game over recent weeks, and the competition has highlighted how small the margins are between winning and losing.
“We ourselves have been far from perfect but I feel like we have grown our game considerably over the last month and can challenge the defending champions head on. We were embarrassed with aspects of our previous game against them, that has not been forgotten and we are determined to perform much better in front of our passionate supporters.”
Chiefs: 15 Chase Tiatia, 14 Jonah Lowe, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Alex Nankivell, 11 Etene Nanai-Seturo, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber (captain), 8 Luke Jacobson, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Mitchell Brown, 5 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 4 Tupou Vaa’i, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 Aidan Ross.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Ollie Norris, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Pita Gus Sowakula, 20 Kaylum Boshier, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 Sean Wainui.
Date: Saturday, April 17
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-off: 19.05 (07.05 GMT)
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant referees: Paul Williams, James Doleman
TMO: Ben O’Keeffe