All eyes on Ngatai in New Plymouth

Thu, 04 May 2017 06:56
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Chiefs midfield sensation Charlie Ngatai makes his return to Super Rugby this weekend, starting at inside centre against the Reds at Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth. 

It's a fitting venue for the 26-year-old to make his comeback in front of thousands of fans, many of whom have also enjoyed Ngatai’s thrilling performances for his provincial team Taranaki. 

The humble midfielder is not the only exciting addition to the Chiefs this week, with All Black hooker Nathan Harris being named in the reserves. The 25-year old has worked his way back from a knee injury sustained in August 2016 to make his first appearance this season. 
Anticipating a combative and astute Reds side, Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie has named an experienced playing 23. 

There are eight changes to the starting XV that defeated the Sunwolves 27-20 to record their eighth win of the season last Saturday. 

In the forwards, Brodie Retallick returns to the side as the sole change to the tight five. There's a reshuffle in the loose forwards with co-captain Sam Cane shifting from No.8 to openside flank. Mitchell Brown is promoted from the bench to start at blindside flank, and Michael Leitch returns to the 23 to start at No.8.
A dangerous backline awaits the Reds, with five All Blacks named to start. Tawera Kerr-Barlow returns to re-establish his partnership with co-captain Aaron Cruden in jerseys No.9 and No.10 respectively. Charlie Ngatai links up with Anton Lienert-Brown to form a formidable midfield combination, with James Lowe, Toni Pulu and Damian McKenzie completing the backline at 11, 14 and fullback. 

Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 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 Nathan Harris, 17 Atu Moli, 18 Siegfried Fisi'ihoi, 19 Taleni Seu, 20 Liam Messam, 21 Jonathan Taumateine, 22 Sam McNicol, 23 Shaun Stevenson.

Date: Saturday, May 6
Venue: Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth
Kick-off: 19.35 (17.35 AEST; 07.35 GMT)
Referee: Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Cam Stone (New Zealand)
TMO: Shane McDermott (New Zealand)

There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 23 March 2018
Crusaders v Bulls 06h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sharks 08h45 Melbourne
Connacht v Edinburgh 19h35 Sportsground
Dragons v Cheetahs 19h35 Rodney Parade
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 19h35 Scotstoun
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 19h45 Recreation Ground
Sat, 24 March 2018
Sunwolves v Chiefs 04h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Highlanders 06h35 Wellington
Kings v Treviso 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
London Irish v Gloucester 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Harlequins 15h00 London
Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors 15h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Stormers v Reds 15h15 Newlands
Cardiff Blues v Ulster 15h15 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Scarlets 17h30 Thomond Park
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 17h30 Kingston Park
Ospreys v Leinster 19h35 Liberty Stadium
Jaguares v Lions 19h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sun, 25 March 2018
Leicester Tigers v Wasps 15h00 Welford Road
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Rebels 4 3 0 1 15
Waratahs 4 2 1 1 10
Reds 3 2 0 1 8
Brumbies 4 2 0 2 8
Sunwolves 4 0 0 4 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Highlanders 3 3 0 0 13
Hurricanes 3 2 0 1 10
Crusaders 4 2 0 2 10
Chiefs 3 2 0 1 8
Blues 4 1 0 3 6
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 5 4 0 1 19
Stormers 5 2 0 3 9
Sharks 4 1 1 4 9
Bulls 4 1 0 3 5
Jaguares 4 1 0 3 4