Gatland gives No.10 jersey back to superstar
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Chiefs head coach Warren Gatland has made a handful of changes to his twenty-three for their clash against the Crusaders at Waikato Stadium.
The Chiefs powerful forward pack remains unchanged. In the backline, flyhalf Aaron Cruden will run out in jersey No.10 for his 100th Chiefs cap, shifting rookie Kaleb Trask to the bench.
The only other changes to the elusive backline will see Shaun Stevenson return to the starting XV on the right wing, with Sean Wainui shifting to the left wing following Solomon Alaimalo’s shoulder injury last weekend against the Blues.
The re-enforcements off the bench, All Black prop Angus Ta’avao returns for his first Super Rugby Aotearoa fixture and will be joined by young lock Naitoa Ah Kuoi who returns after being sidelined with concussion. Waikato loose forward Simon Parker is set to make his mark in Super Rugby named on the bench in jersey twenty for his debut.
Gatland said he is calling for his side to deliver a performance they can be proud of.
“Last weekend I was exceptionally proud of the efforts from the boys. This weekend we need to again strive for a full eighty-minute performance. The Crusaders are a class act and will be hurting from the weekend but as a team we are ready for the challenge.
“We have plenty to celebrate this weekend; Aaron’s impending milestone, a potential debut for Simon and we have both Angus and Naitoa returning from injury. We hope our fans come out to celebrate alongside us for our final 2020 home match.” finished Gatland.
Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Alex Nankivell, 11 Sean Wainui, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Pita Gus Sowakula, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Lachlan Boshier, 5 Mitchell Brown, 4 Tupou Vaa’i, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Bradley Slater, 1 Reuben O’Neill.
Replacements: 16 Samison Taukei’aho, 17 Ollie Norris, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 20 Simon Parker, 21 Lisati Milo-Harris 22 Kaleb Trask, 23 Quinn Tupaea.
Date: Saturday, August 1
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-off: 19.05 (07.05 GMT)
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant referess: Paul Williams, Richard Kelly
TMO: Glenn Newman