Six changes for battered Chiefs
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 09:16
It is a hugely important day
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie has made half a dozen to his starting line-up to face the Brumbies in a re-match of last year's Super Round final in Canberra on Friday.
Last year's Super Rugby finalists will go head-to-head once more on Friday, but this time the game will be on Brumbies' territory.
The Chiefs won the 2013 final in Hamilton 27-22, and the Australian Conference-topping Brumbies will be out for revenge on their own ground.
Rennie's selection hand has largely been forced, however, as many of the changes are due to injuries suffered in last week's titanic 17-18 loss to the Crusaders.
Augustine Pulu will start at scrumhalf after Tawera Kerr-Barlow was ruled out with concussion after a heavy knock against the seven-times champions.
Eightman Liam Squire suffered the same fate after the rangy looseforward was also ruled out after he was concussed by a shoulder charge by Crusaders' lock Dominic Bird last week.
Nick Crosswell comes into the side for Squire and will start at blindside flank, meaning that captain Liam Messam will shift to eighthman.
Sam Cane comes into the starting line-up in the place of the injury Tanerau Latimer - who has an achilles problem and is out of the matchday 23-man squad.
Flank Tevita Koloamatangi, who hasn't featured since the 36-20 win over the Stormers on March 14, takes a spot on the replacements bench.
Veteran Ross Filipo takes over the number four jersey, as regular starting lock Michael Fitzgerald has been suspended for a week following a dangerous tackle against the Crusaders.
Samoan international hooker Mahonri Schwalger comes into the side to replace Rhys Marshall who drops out of the matchday 23 altogether.
This is some good news for the Chiefs as left wing Asaeli Tikoirotuma has returned from a knee injury, after withdrawing just before kick-off last week, and starts instead of Jordan Payne. Wing James Lowe returns from a knee injury to take his place on the bench.
The injury list remains lenghty for the defending champions as eightman Kane Thompson, prop Ben Afeaki, centres Charlie Ngatai and Robbie Fruean, fullbacks Mils Muliaina and Robbie Robinson and flyhalf Aaron Cruden are still sidelined.
Rennie said "It is special to be playing a match against an Australian team on ANZAC Day.
"It is a hugely important day for our two countries."
Chiefs: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Tim Nanai-Williams, 13 Andrew Horrell, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Liam Messam (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Nick Crosswell, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Ross Filipo, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Mahonri Schwalger, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Jamie Mackintosh, 18 Josh Hohneck, 19 Matt Symons, 20 Tevita Koloamatangi, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Dwayne Sweeney, 23 James Lowe.
Date: Friday, April 24
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Kick-off: 17.40 (07.40 GMT, 19:40 NZST)
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia) , Andrew Lees (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)
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