The Western Force have frequently been something of a bogey team for the Chiefs and will arrive in Hamilton confident of an upset.
The Chiefs stand second on the New Zealand table.
With the Hurricanes loss to the Brumbies last week, Dave Rennie and his men have moved closer to the top of the table, and a win on Friday night will make playoff contention that little bit easier to imagine.
James Lowe will miss the clash against the Force due to a shoulder injury.
Marty McKenzie has been given the nod and will make his first start of the season in replacement of the injured Aaron Cruden.
Chiefs assistant coach Andrew Strawbridge said that McKenzie has been training specifically for the first five role this year and has earned his starting spot on Friday night by consistent efforts on the practice field.
McKenzie’s selection shouldn’t be questioned either – he was a key part in Taranki’s ITM Cup title last year and is a NZ Maori representative.
McKenzie will take goal kicking duties also, giving Chiefs coaches a good gauge of his skill in putting points on the board from penalties and tries.
Liam Messam will forgo captaincy to Matt Symons due to All Black rest restriction policies.
The Force have traditionally been a team to upset the Chiefs, adding to the clubs poor record against Australian based Super Rugby sides who the Chiefs admit themselves to quite getting the hang of through the years.
“Personally, the Force are a team who scare me”, Strawbridge said.
Friday’s match in Hamilton will observe all Anzac traditions including The Last Post, National Anthems, and a unique 100-person haka to be performed prior to the game as well.