Chiefs bench Cruden

Wed, 08 May 2013 08:51
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Chiefs coach Dave Rennie made a number of significant changes to the team to play the Western Force in Pukekohe on Friday.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie made a number of significant changes to the team to play the Western Force in Pukekohe on Friday.

Prop Ben Afeaki makes his long awaited return from injury and is joined in the front row by Hika Elliot and Toby Smith.  

Scrumhalf Tawera Kerr-Barlow also gets his first start since breaking his jaw and will team up with Gareth Anscombe at flyhalf.

Patrick Osborne will start on the wing, while two players who have started every game this year, Aaron Cruden and Asaeli Tikoirotuma move to the bench.

Due to a substantial growing number of injuries in the midfield - including Kahui, Horrell, Nanai-Williams and Charlie Ngatai who has not recovered in time with a hamstring injury - Save Tokula will start in the No.13 jersey in his sixth game for the Chiefs.  

"We are in the third mini leg of our season which is hugely important," Rennie said.

"We are well aware of the strength of this Force team.  

"They have beaten the Reds and Crusaders and went close to the Hurricanes, which proves they can travel, so we need to be at our best," the coach added.

Chiefs: 15 Robbie Robinson, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Save Tokula, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Matt Vant Leven, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke (captain), 3 Ben  Afeaki, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Mahonri Schwalger, 17 Ben Tameifuna, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Tanerau Latimer, 20 Augustine Pulu, 21 Aaron Cruden, 22 Asaeli Tikoirotuma.

Date: Friday, May 10
Venue: ECOLight Stadium, Pukekohe
Kick-off: 19.35 (07.35 GMT; 15.35 AWST)
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), Sheldon Eden-Whaitiri (New Zealand)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)

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Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 16 14 0 2 66
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Highlanders 16 11 0 5 53
Chiefs 16 10 0 6 48
Brumbies 16 9 0 7 47
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