Chiefs bench their Tongan torpedo

Wed, 11 Jul 2012 12:11
Arizona-taumalolo-630 Taumalolo-630
Half-ton if Taumalolo comes off the bench

The Chiefs have benched their Tongan torpedo, prop Sona Taumalolo for their crucial Super Rugby encounter with the Hurricanes on Friday.

Coach Dave Rennie has named Toby Smith at loosehead prop, but Taumalolo - who will join Perpignan on a three-and-a-half-year deal at the end of the season - will play his 50th game for the Chiefs if he comes off the bench.

Crowd favourite Taumalolo is not only the Chiefs’ top try scorer, who is also joint third on the Super Rugby list - behind André Taylor (Hurricanes, 10 tries) and Bjorn Basson (Bulls, nine). Taumalolo and Sharks wing Lwazi Mvovo have both touched down eight times.

Rennie has made a few other changes to his side, including starting Robbie Robinson on the wing and Andrew Horrell moving back to fullback.

Jackson Willison returns to the No.13 Jersey, with captain Craig Clarke back in the line up for the crucial match.

The Chiefs, although being ensured of winning the New Zealand conference, need a bonus-point win to wrap up first place on the standings - which brings with it a bye in the first round of the play-offs, home ground advantage in the semifinals and also home advantage in the Final ... if they advance.

Chiefs: 15 Andrew Horrell, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Jackson Willison, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Robbie Robinson, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Kane Thompson, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke (captain), 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Mahonri Schwalger, 17 Sona Taumalolo, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Brendon Leonard, 21 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 22 Tim Nanai-Williams.

Date: Friday, July 13
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 19.35 (07.35 GMT)
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand), Keith Brown (New Zealand)
TMO: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)