Cane blow for Chiefs
The Chiefs suffered a cruel blow with the news that star All Black Sam Cane has been ruled out of their Super Rugby encounter with the Hurricanes.
The Chiefs suffered a cruel blow with the news that star All Black Sam Cane has been ruled out of their Super Rugby crunch match with the Hurricanes in Wellington on Friday.
The flank, Cane, a mainstay in the defending champions' campaign this season, has been ruled out with a back injury.
Coach Dave Rennie revealed that Cane has a "bulging disc" in his back.
"It's an issue he had pre-season last year, it took him out of rugby for a while," the coach said, adding: "He's not too bad, but we're not willing to risk that."
Rennie made four changes to his side.
Tanerau Latimer takes on the duties in the No.7 jersey, with Cane ruled out.
Charlie Ngatai joins Bundee Aki in the midfield.
Rennie also made a change to his front row, with Pauliasi Manu starting at loosehead prop.
Nick Crosswell makes his return from injury on the bench and is joined by Save Tokula.
Hawkes Bay's Dan Waenga has been called into the side as injury cover and gets the opportunity to earn his first cap for the Chiefs off the bench.
* Meanwhile the Chiefs hope to confirm a midfield back replacement by Thursday.
The New Zealand Rugby Union rejected their request to have former Crusader Casey Laulala join the squad from abroad, following long term injuries to Richard Kahui, Andrew Horrell and Tim Nanai-Williams.
Chiefs: 15 Robbie Robinson, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Matt Vant Leven, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke (captain), 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Mahonri Schwalger, 17 Ben Tameifuna, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Nick Crosswell, 20 Augustine Pulu, 21 Dan Waenga, 22 Save Tokula.
Date: Friday, May 17
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 19.35 (07.35 GMT)
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand), Sheldon Eden-Whaitiri (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)