The Cheetahs’ hopes of finishing their Vodacom Super 14 tour with a win improved dramatically when the Chiefs named an understrength side for their match on Friday.
Ian Foster has made nine changes, including a revamped loose trio and a rest for All Black fullback Mils Muliaina. There are seven new starters and two positional switches.
Flank Liam Messam makes his first start at No 8 with Steven Bates dropping to the subs bench. Messam is joined in the loose trio by Marty Holah on the openside and Kristian Ormsby on the blindside.
Nathan White gets a start at tighthead prop, Aleki Lutui replaces Tom Willis at hooker while Sean Hohneck returns in the second row to partner skipper Jono Gibbes.
Sosene Anesi moves back into the No 15 jersey and last week’s two-try hero Anthony Tahana earns a start on the right wing. Jamie Nutbrown is also preferred at halfback instead of Byron Kelleher as Foster rotates his players.
Chiefs team to play Cheetahs:
15 Sosene Anesi, 14 Anthony Tahana, 13 Niva Ta’auso, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Jamie Nutbrown; 8 Liam Messam, 7 Marty Holah, 6 Kristian Ormsby, 5 Sean Hohneck, 4 Jono Gibbes (c), 3 Nathan White, 2 Aleki Lutui, 1 Simms Davison. Reserves: 16 Tom Willis, 17 Ben Castle, 18 Bernie Upton, 19 Steven Bates, 20 Byron Kelleher, 21 David Hill, 22 Mils Muliaina/Loki Crichton.