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Stephen Donald to come off bench for Chiefs

Dave Rennie has named another strong squad for the Chiefs round five clash against the Western Force on Saturday night.

Former All Black and RWC winner Stephen Donald is in line to make his much awaited return to the field in Chiefs colours, five years after he last played Super Rugby, after being named on the bench as cover for Aaron Cruden.

Donald has been battling a niggling groin injury to begin the year, and after an outing for the Chiefs development side last month, has been given the nod by Dave Rennie to return to the top grade.

Brad Weber has been rewarded with the starting halfback role after providing important energy off the bench against the Jaguares that included the match-winning try.

The loose forward trio remains the same with Michael Leitch and Tom Sanders supporting Sam Cane, and Michael Allardice makes his fifth consecutive start at lock.

In a cruel turn of events, experienced prop Pauliasi Manu sustained a season-ending achilles injury during a low-intensity drill at training on Wednesday.

Many was due to play his 50th match for the Chiefs against the Force.

Damian McKenzie again starts at fullback, and Seta Tamanivalu returns to the midfield to replace Anton Lienert-Brown who has suffered a minor knee injury.

Sam McNicol starts on the wing for the second week in a row after impressing in Argentina.

The Western Force currently sit second from bottom of the Australian Conference in Super Rugby with just one win from their opening four games.

Fans at FMG Stadium will also get an exciting new viewing experience with a new state-of-the-art big screen set to make its debut.

The full Chiefs squad for Saturdays clash against the Western Force is:

  1. Mitchell Graham (15)
  2. Hika Elliot (90)
  3. Siate Tokolahi (21)
  4. Michael Allardice (11)
  5. Taleni Seu (5)
  6. Tom Sanders (3)
  7. Sam Cane (69) co-captain
  8. Michael Leitch (16)
  9. Brad Weber (28)
  10. Aaron Cruden (60) co-captain
  11. James Lowe (25)
  12. Charlie Ngatai (35)
  13. Seta Tamanivalu (10)
  14. Sam McNicol (2)
  15. Damian McKenzie (20)

 

RESERVES:

 

  1. Rhys Marshall (26)
  2. Atu Moli (1)
  3. Siegfried Fisi’ihoi**
  4. James Tucker (1)
  5. Sam Henwood**
  6. Kayne Hammington**
  7. Stephen Donald (85)
  8. Toni Pulu**

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