Chiefs muscle up for Hurricanes
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Chiefs coach Dave Rennie named a physical and experienced line-up to face the Hurricanes on Friday.
The stage is set for an epic Super Rugby showdown in the battle of the table-topping, unbeaten New Zealand teams.
Leading the charge for the Chiefs is co-captain Sam Cane, who is primed to make his first appearance of 2017 having fully recovered from the ankle injury he sustained while playing for the All Blacks in November 2016.
In addition to Cane, there are four other changes to the starting fifteen that defeated the Blues 41-26 last Friday in Hamilton.
Hard-working Taranaki loose forward Mitchell Brown will start at blindside flank, replacing Liam Messam - who is being rested following two massive 80-minute performances.
There are three changes to the backline with - Anton Lienert-Brown shifting to inside centre, Tim Nanai-Williams will wear No.13 this week and Toni Pulu claims the right wing position.
It is a special match for 24-year old Bay of Plenty hooker Sebastian Siataga, who could make his Super Rugby debut off the bench.
With the return of Cane, Lachlan Boshier moves to the reserves.
Veteran back Stephen Donald has been named at 22, his first appearance for the Chiefs this season.
Unavailable for selection are Brad Weber, Mitchell Graham, Nathan Harris, James Tucker, Glen Fisiiahi, Chase Tiatia, Michael Allardice, Charlie Ngatai, Sam McNicol and Liam Polwart.
Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Tim Nanai-Williams, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (co-captain), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane (co-captain), 6 Mitchell Brown, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Kane Hames.
Replacements: 16 Sabastian Siataga, 17 Siegfried Fisi'ihoi, 18 Atu Moli, 19 Taleni Seu, 20 Lachlan Boshier, 21 Jonathan Taumateine, 22 Stephen Donald, 23 Shaun Stevenson.
Date: Friday, Match 10
Venue: FMG Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-off: 19.35 (06.35 GMT)
Referee: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Glen Jackson (New Zealand), James Doleman (New Zealand)
TMO: Glen Newman (New Zealand)