Cruden back, Ngatai out

Wed, 17 May 2017 05:23
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie has named a formidable line-up to face the Crusaders for the first time this season. 

It features five changes to the starting XV that defeated the Reds 46-17 in New Plymouth in Round 11.

There's just one change in the forwards with Nathan Harris making his first start of the year at hooker. The 25-year-old Harris, who re-signed this week with the Chiefs until 2019, made a welcome return to Super Rugby two weeks ago following a long injury layoff.

There are four changes to the backs with co-captain Aaron Cruden returning to start at first flyhalf. 

Anton Lienert-Brown, who also re-signed with the Chiefs this week, moves to inside centre from No.13 to replace Charlie Ngatai. Sam McNicol is promoted from the bench to start in No.13 and Tim Nanai-Williams has fully recovered from a shoulder injury sustained against the Hurricanes in Round Three to start on the right wing. 
 
Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Tim Nanai-Williams, 13 Sam McNicol, 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 Nathan Harris, 1 Kane Hames.  
Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Siegfried Fisi'ihoi, 18 Atu Moli, 19 Taleni Seu, 20 Liam Messam, 21 Jonathan Taumateine, 22 Stephen Donald, 23 Shaun Stevenson.
 
Date: Friday, May 19
Venue: International Stadium, Suva
Kick-off: 19.35 (07.35 GMT)
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant referees: Brendon Pickerill, Paul Williams
TMO: Shane McDermott

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 26 May 2017
Blues v Chiefs 07h45 Auckland
Reds v Force 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Sat, 27 May 2017
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 05h15 Tokyo
Highlanders v Waratahs 07h35 Dunedin
Rebels v Crusaders 09h45 Melbourne
Bulls v Hurricanes 13h05 Loftus Versfeld
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 13h30 London
Sharks v Stormers 15h15 Kings Park
Munster v Scarlets 17h15 Dublin
Jaguares v Brumbies 21h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 12h30 Ellis Park Stadium
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 11 4 0 7 23
Waratahs 11 4 0 7 19
Reds 11 3 0 8 16
Force 11 3 0 8 13
Rebels 11 1 1 9 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 12 0 0 54
Hurricanes 11 9 0 2 43
Chiefs 11 9 0 2 43
Highlanders 12 9 0 3 41
Blues 12 6 0 6 31
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 11 7 0 4 30
Bulls 11 3 0 8 15
Cheetahs 12 2 0 10 11
Sunwolves 11 1 0 10 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 12 11 0 1 51
Sharks 12 8 1 3 38
Jaguares 11 5 0 6 24
Kings 11 4 0 7 19