Keo.co.za brings you the latest news from New Zealand’s Super 14 franchises.
All Blacks set to return for Chiefs
Richard Kahui, Liam Messam and Sitiveni Sivivatu are all set for some game time against the Highlanders in Rotorua this Friday.
A 29-man squad has been named for the Chiefs’ second pre-season clash and coach Ian Foster will be keen to keep the momentum going after last weekend’s win over the Auckland Blues.
Foster believes the Highlanders game is the right time to get his All Blacks back in action.
“The timing is right to get Kahui, Messam and Sivivatu back in the mix, particularly with the next pre-season match for our guys not scheduled until February 7 against the Hurricanes in Gisborne,” said Foster.
“On Friday night we will again be putting our systems to the test as well as putting new combinations out on the field.”
Chiefs - 15 James Wilson, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Jackson Willison, 12 Dwayne Sweeney, 11 Tim Mikkelson, 10 Mike Delany, 9 Toby Morland, 8 Colin Bourke, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Craig Clarke, 4 Toby Lynn, 3 James McGougan, 2 Aled de Malmanche, 1 Joe Savage.
Subs – Hika Elliot, Hikairo Forbes, Sona Taumalolo, Culum Retallick, Romana Graham, Luke Braid, Serge Lilo, Sione Lauaki, David Bason , Sitiveni Sivivatu, Callum Bruce, Richard Kahui, Save Tokula , Trent Renata.
Canes without stars
Nine first-string players are missing from the Hurricanes 27-man squad to face the Blues this Friday.
All Blacks Ma’a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Rodney So’oialo, Andrew Hore, Jason Eaton and Hosea Gear will only join the squad from next week, while Jeremy Thrush, Faifili Levave and Josh Bradnock miss the Cane’s first pre-season clash due to injury.
Coach Colin Copper is set to give a number of the fringe players some playing time and has named All Blacks John Schwalger, Piri Weepu, Cory Jane, Alby Mathewson, Scott Waldrom and Neemia Tialata on the bench.
Hurricanes - 15 Zac Guildford, 14 Andre Taylor, 13 Jason Kawau, 12 Tamati Ellison, 11 David Smith, 10 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 9 Chris Eaton, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Karl Lowe, 6 Nick Crosswell, 5 Bryn Evans, 4 Api Naikatini, 3 Tim Fairbrother, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Jacob Ellison.
Subs – Ged Robinson, John Schwalger, Bernie Upton, Piri Weepu, Willie Ripia, Cory Jane, Alby Mathewson, Shane Cleaver, Scott Waldrom, Jarrad Hoeata, Nathan Hohaia, Neemia Tialata.
Crusaders’ rookie hookers set for action
Back-up hookers Daniel Perrin and Jason MacDonald will have the opportunity to showcase their ability when the Crusaders take on the Western force on Friday.
With doubts over the possibility of Corey Flynn being fit in time to face the Chiefs in the opening round of the Super 14, the two rookies will now fight it out for the No2 jersey.
Coach Todd Blackadder said he was still unsure if Flynn, who broke his arm on All Blacks duty last November against Munster, would be fit to face the Chiefs on 14 February.
Meanwhile, Colin Slade will run at flyhalf against the Force with Stephen Brett still recovering from minor knee surgery.
Crusaders - 15 Leon MacDonald, 14 Jared Payne, 13 Adam Whitelock, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Kade Poki, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Steve Alfeld, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 George Whitelock, 6 Ash Parker, 5 Isaac Ross, 4 James Broadhurst, 3 Peter Borlase, 2 Daniel Perrin, 1 Owen Franks.
Subs – Wyatt Crockett, Jason Macdonald, Bronson Murray, Michael Paterson, Jonathan Poff, Thomas Waldrom, Andy Ellis, Hamish Gard, Tim Bateman, Casey Laulala.