Chiefs bring in Japanese star

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 09:07
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Japan captain Michael Leitch will make his first appearance of the 2017 Super Rugby season when he runs out at No.8 for the Battle of the Bombays in Waikato on Friday.

Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie has made a total of seven changes to the team that defeated the Highlanders 24-15 in Dunedin, three of which to the starting XV.

Leitch has been brought in, with Liam Messam shifting to blindside flank while Lachlan Boshier is promoted from the bench to start at openside. The tight five remains unchanged.

There is just one change in the backline as Tim Nanai-Williams starts on the wing after being promoted from the bench while Toni Pulu moves to the bench to join Jonathan Taumateine and Shaun Stevenson as backs cover.

Taleni Seu is an exciting replacement option alongside Tom Sanders, who could make his first appearance for 2017.

It is going to be a special night for captain Aaron Cruden as he is set to run out in his 100th Super Rugby game and would be hoping to put in a match-winning performance in the Chiefs' first home game of the season.

Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Tim Nanai-Williams, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Johnny Faauli, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (captain), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Kane Hames.
Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei'aho, 17 Siegfried Fisi'ihoi, 18 Atu Moli, 19 Taleni Seu, 20 Tom Sanders, 21 Jonathan Taumateine, 22 Toni Pulu, 23 Shaun Stevenson.

Date: Friday, March 3
Venue: FMG Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-off: 19.35 (06.35 GMT)
Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand), Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 15 December 2017
Ulster v Harlequins 19h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sat, 16 December 2017
Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Treviso v Scarlets 13h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Leinster v Exeter Chiefs 15h15 Aviva Stadium
Racing Metro v Castres 15h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Bath v Toulon 17h30 Recreation Ground
Sun, 17 December 2017
Wasps v La Rochelle 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Munster 17h30 Welford Road
RESULT SCORE
Mon, 11 December 2017
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne 14 | 46
Sun, 10 December 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster 8 | 18
Harlequins v Ulster 5 | 17
La Rochelle v Wasps 49 | 29
Sat, 09 December 2017
Munster v Leicester Tigers 33 | 10
Castres v Racing Metro 16 | 13
Northampton Saints v Ospreys 32 | 43
Toulon v Bath 24 | 20
Scarlets v Treviso 33 | 28
Fri, 08 December 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier 22 | 29
Sun, 03 December 2017
Harlequins v Saracens 20 | 19
Sat, 02 December 2017
Cheetahs v Scarlets 28 | 21
Munster v Ospreys 36 | 10
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 32 | 25
Treviso v Leinster 10 | 36
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