Unsettled backline must perform for Chiefs in playoff

The Chiefs head into Forsyth Barr with a backline that has been compromised due to injury.

(Photo credit: 3news via Google Images)

It isn’t a big surprise that Andrew Horrell was selected to start for the Chiefs playoff game against the Highlanders, for his experience more than anything.

Horrell has put up average performances this season so far, and his kicking game must improve as it will be crucial in a playoff match.

So far in 2015, Horrell is kicking at a penalty success rate of 42%.

Damian McKenzie slots into fullback once again – a decision that had many Chiefs fans scratching their heads.

Tim Nanai Williams will start at centre alongside cousin Sonny Bill Williams, the first time the two have been paired together in 2015, and no doubt much work on communication was had during the week.

Sonny Bill must find form against the Highlanders tonight – he has looked a shadow of his former self so far in 2015.

In many ways, the Chiefs backline is the most unbalanced it has been all year, but injuries have seen the likes of Tom Marshall and Charlie Ngatai sidelined.

Seta Tamanivalu hasn’t been seen in the Chiefs side for weeks but returns tonight and covers the bench. It is likely that Anton Lienert-Brown would have been in the mix but is unavailable due to his NZ U-20 commitments in Italy.

Michael Leitch also starts off the bench tonight and Liamessam will slot into the No. 8 role.

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