RICHARD FERGUSON updates keo.co.za followers of the latest Super Rugby news from New Zealand.
Chiefs change midfield
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie has made a few changes to his team to take on the Waratahs this weekend, with a complete backline shuffle.
Richard Kahui shifts closer to the action to play outside Aaron Cruden, with Brendon Leonard starting his first match at scrumhalf, in place of Augustine Pulu. Kahui is joined by Charlie Ngatai in midfield with Tim Nanai-Williams dropped to the bench. Finally, ace goal kicker Gareth Anscombe has been relegated to the bench and Andrew Horrell starting at the back. Bundee Aki misses out on the match 22 altogether.
The shuffling doesn’t stop there with Fritz Lee moving to eighthman and Liam Messam moving to the side of the scrum. Sam Cane joins them in the loose trio with Tanerau Latimer due to make his impact off the bench.
There is also a return to action for Pauliasi Manu in the front row, replacing Toby Smith.
The Waratahs seem to be the Chiefs’ bogey side, having only beaten them once in the competition to date.
Chiefs: 15. Andrew Horrell, 14. Lelia Masaga, 13. Charlie Ngatai, 12. Richard Kahui, 11. Aseali Tikoirotuma, 10. Aaron Cruden, 9. Brendon Leonard, 8. Fritz Lee, 7. Sam Cane, 6. Liam Messam (c), 5. Brodie Retallick, 4. Michael Fitzgerald, 3. Ben Tameifuna, 2. Hika Elliot, 1. Pauliasi Manu. Substitutes: 16. Rhys Marshall, 17. Michael Kainga, 18. Nick Crosswell, 19. Tanerau Latimer, 20. August Pulu, 21. Gareth Anscombe, 22. Tim Nanai-Williams.
Hurricanes back Lam
Jack Lam is due to start his first match of the season after having reconstructive surgery on his knee. Lam is one of four changes to the Hurricanes for their match against the Force.
Lam is not the only player returning from injury, Dane Coles and Jeremy Thrush are both back from their ails. The return of Thrush allows the coach to rest Jason Eaton, while Lam comes in for Ardie Savea, who gets the week off completely.
In the backline, Beauden Barrett continues at fullback, Tusi Pisi remains the pivot and Chris Smylie gets a run ahead of TJ Perenara.
Hurricanes: 15. Beauden Barrett, 14. Alapati Leiua, 13. Conrad Smith (captain), 12. Tim Bateman, 11. Julian Savea, 10. Tusi Pisi, 9. Chris Smylie, 8. Faifili Levave, 7. Jack Lam, 6. Brad Shields, 5. Mark Reddish, 4. Jeremy Thrush, 3. Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2. Dane Coles, 1. Ben Franks. Substitutes: 16. Motu Matu’u, 17. Reggie Goodes, 18. James Broadhurst, 19. Karl Lowe, 20. TJ Perenara, 21. Reynold Lee-Lo, 22. Andre Taylor