The Chiefs have named an experience squad, but have still sprung a couple of surprises ahead of their Saturday night clash against the Hurricanes.
Dave Rennie has chosen a forward pack with mixed experience for a clash against one of Super Rugby’s toughest packs.
In the locks, Michael Allardice replaces Dominic Bird who will be rested for another week after knocking his just-healed foot during the last game against the Blues, and loose forward Tom Sanders gets the nod over the impressive Taleni Seu.
It will be the most inexperienced wings combination that the Chiefs have fielded all season with Sam McNicol moving in to start on the left wing over regular starter James Lowe. Toni Pulu has also trumped Shaun Stevenson on the right wing to make his third start of the season
The Chiefs say that Lowe suffered an injury during training this week, but McNicol’s selection was one based on form.
A lingering knee infection has again ruled Anton Lienert-Brown out of the picture, but Charlie Ngatai has passed fitness tests to make the starting line up after an injury scare.
Andrew Horrell also returns, coming off a lengthy injury to take his place on the bench for what will be his 50th Super Rugby appearance.
The full Chiefs squad to take on the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday night at 7.35pm:
- Mitchell Graham (18)
- Rhys Marshall (29)
- Atu Moli (4)
- Michael Allardice (13)
- Brodie Retallick (62)
- Tom Sanders (5)
- Sam Cane (72) co-captain
- Michael Leitch (19)
- Brad Weber (31)
- Aaron Cruden (63) co-captain
- Sam McNicol (4)
- Charlie Ngatai (38)
- Seta Tamanivalu (13)
- Toni Pulu (2)
- Damian McKenzie (23)