Cane dedicates game to Rennie

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 08:08
Large chiefs departing players and coach 800

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Chiefs co-captain Sam Cane has dedicated their Super Rugby Round 17 encounter with the Brumbies to departing coach Dave Rennie.

Rennie, who was even linked to the Springbok coaching job, will head to  Glasgow Warriors after the completion of the Super Rugby season.

The significance of this Saturday's contest between the Chiefs and the Brumbies will only truly be realised retrospectively.

It could be the last time Rennie leads his team into battle in Hamilton.

It could be the last performance at home for a very special group of long-serving players that includes Aaron Cruden, Tawera Kerr-Barlow and James Lowe.

"As far as special games go, our match on Saturday against the Brumbies is right up there," said Cane, who will not feature in the matchday 23.

"It's our final guaranteed game at home this season and I'd love for thousands of our loyal fans to join me in the stands to honour Rens [Rennie], Aaron [Cruden] and the boys - who are leaving at the end of this season.

"Let's give them a turnout befitting the massive contribution they've made to our franchise."

Whether the Chiefs play on home soil again this season is unknown, but some things are certain.

It will be Stephen Donald's 100th Super Rugby competition game when he takes the field against the Brumbies on Saturday.

Having captained the Chiefs in international fixtures against Wales in 2016 and the British and Irish Lions last month, Donald has already celebrated his century milestone with the franchise.

Brad Weber, Mitchell Graham, Glen Fisiiahi, Sam McNicol, Toni Pulu, Taleni Seu and Dominic Bird are all unavailable for selection through injury.

Rennie opted to rest hard-working All Blacks Sam Cane, Brodie Retallick and Anton Lienert-Brown - to refresh them for play-offs next weekend.

Tim Nanai-Williams will rejoin the side next week following his commitments with the Samoan national team.

Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Solomon Alaimalo, 13 Alex Nankivell, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (captain), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Mitchell Brown, 4 Michael Allardice, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Kane Hames.
Replacements: 16 Liam Polwart, 17 Aidan Ross, 18 Atu Moli, 19 Tom Sanders, 20 Mitchell Karpik, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Stephen Donald, 23 Shaun Stevenson.

Date: Saturday, July 15
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-off: 17.15 (15.15 AEST; 05.15 GMT)
Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Richard Kelly (New Zealand), Cam Stone (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

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