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Michael Leitch Returns For Chiefs Semi Final Clash

Loose-forward Michael Leitch has been named on the bench for the Chiefs Super Rugby semi final against the Hurricanes this weekend.

Leitch’s selection marks an end to a much-awaited return to rugby after several months on the sidelines. Leitch hasn’t been seen since May when he dislocated his right thumb during the side’s home clash against the Rebels. His return will give the Chiefs significant experience of the bench at a crucial time of playoff rugby. 

During a media briefing today, Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie said that Leitch could provide a big difference to his sides chances in the do-or-die clash.

He took full part in training today, and we expect him to be ok for Saturday. Obviously he is really experienced, he has a massive work rate and that will be a big point of difference coming off the bench.

It was a tough decision for the Chiefs selectors in the halves and wing positions this week. Rennie has put his faith in Sam McNicol to start on the right wing and Tawera Kerr-Barlow gets the nod in the No.9 jersey. Kerr-Barlow’s selection to start was down to his physicality and the strength of his defensive game.

After a minor knee injury, All Black centre Seta Tamanivalu returns to his regular starting role.

Brad Weber, Toni Pulu, and Shaun Stevenson provide back cover on the bench and have all proven their worth to the Chiefs this season. A total of three changes have been made to the Chiefs starting lineup that demolished the Stormers 60-21 in Cape Town last weekend.

Popular referee Angus Gardner will officiate in Saturday’s semi final in Wellington. The Chiefs believe that it will be the side that can maintain the most composure and thrive off playoff pressure better that will determine the winner of the match.

Their is likely to be some pretty average weather on the weekend so it could be a war of attrition and a lot of the outcome will be determined around the edges.

The Chiefs squad for Saturday’s Super Rugby semi final against the Hurricanes:

  1. Kane Hames (8)
  2. Nathan Harris (22)
  3. Atu Moli (10)
  4. Dominic Bird (10)
  5. Brodie Retallick (70)
  6. Taleni Seu (17)
  7. Sam Cane (81) co-captain
  8. Tom Sanders (14)
  9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow (66)
  10. Aaron Cruden (72) co-captain
  11. James Lowe (36)
  12. Anton Lienert-Brown (23)
  13. Seta Tamanivalu (21)
  14. Sam McNicol (11)
  15. Damian McKenzie (32)

RESERVES:

  1. Hika Elliot (103)
  2. Siegfried Fisi’ihoi (10)
  3. Mitchell Graham (25)
  4. Lachlan Boshier (7)
  5. Michael Leitch (23)
  6. Brad Weber (41)
  7. Toni Pulu (12)
  8. Shaun Stevenson (6)

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