Canes looking settled and strong

RICHARD FERGUSON updates followers on the latest news from New Zealand.

Chiefs choose team for Dunedin.

The Chiefs have announced their team to take on the Highlanders in Dunedin on Friday, opting for the pacey Tim Nanai-Williams in midfield.

The Chiefs backline bears little resemblance to the backline which helped the team lift the cup in 2012 with players such as Richard Kahui and Sonny Bill Williams not featuring. The halfback pairing of Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Aaron Cruden is still there though, so expect them to fire.

The backline sees two debutants in centre Bundee Aki and wing Patrick Osborne, while Gareth Anscombe starts his first game after his move from the Blues.

The Chiefs pack looks set to dominate with a strong second row in captain Craig Clarke and Brodie Retallick, while loosies Liam Messam, Sam Cane and Fritz Lee make up a formidable combination.

Chiefs: 15. Gareth Anscombe, 14. Patrick Osborne, 13. Tim Nanai-Williams, 12. Bundee Aki, 11. Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10. Aaron Cruden, 9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8. Fritz Lee, 7. Sam Cane, 6. Liam Messam, 5. Brodie Retallick, 4. Craig Clarke (c), 3. Ben Afeaki, 2. Hika Elliot, 1. Pauliasi Manu Reserves: 16. Rhys Marshall, 17. Ben Tameifuna, 18. Michael Fitzgerald, 19. Tanerau Latimer, 20. Augustine Pulu, 21. Charlie Ngatai, 22. Lelia Masaga

Hurricanes name settled side for Blues

The Hurricanes team announced to take on the Blues this weekend has a familiar look to it with the only big changes being the inclusion of Ben Franks in the front row after his move from the Crusaders, and the loss of Cory Jane from the backline.

Jane’s injury means that Alapati Leiua gets a chance to make the 14 jersey his own, while TJ Perenara and Beauden Barrett continuing the partnership that looked promising last year. There is also a return from injury for Andre Taylor, who had an impressive first half of 2012 before getting injured.

Hurricanes: 15. Andre Taylor, 14. Alapati Leiua, 13. Conrad Smith (c), 12. Tim Bateman, 11. Julian Savea, 10. Beauden Barrett, 9. TJ Perenara, 8. Brad Shields, 7. Karl Lowe, 6. Victor Vito, 5. Jason Eaton, 4. Jeremy Thrush, 3. Ben May, 2. Dane Coles, 1. Ben Franks Replacements : 16. Ash Dixon,17. Reggie Goodes,18. Mark Reddish,19. Faifili Levave,20. Chris Smylie,21. James Marshall,22. Reynold Lee-Lo