Spotlight on McKenzie in Christchurch

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 06:24
Large damian mckenzie chiefs run2 800

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Chiefs head coach Colin Cooper has selected a physical and experienced line-up for Saturday's clash against the Crusaders in Christchurch.

The starting Xv features five 2017 All Blacks in the forward pack alone, as well as the much-talked-about combination of Brad Weber and Damian McKenzie in the No.9 and No.10.

"Everyone is talking about Damian, but it's just about giving him time at 10," said Cooper.

"Brad is coming off an injury, but played really well in the preseason and shows a lot of excitement if he can get into space."

The Chiefs have a tight five of Aidan Ross, Nathan Harris, Nepo Laulala, Brodie Retallick and Dominic Bird. 

"Mitchell Brown had a very good game against the Brumbies [in last weeks' pre-season match] and brings a lot of physicality. Sam Cane is an All Black with proven leadership, and a hard worker. Taleni Seu is new at number eight, but I like his skill, speed and power off the back of the scrum," Cooper added.

The midfield combination of Johnny Faauli and Anton Lienert-Brown is strong, while co-captain Charlie Ngatai will start in the No.15 jersey.

The Chiefs and the Crusaders have had quite the opening round history, facing off against each other three times in the last decade in Christchurch. They played in 2009 (Crusaders won 19-13), 2014 (Chiefs won 18-10), 2016 (Chiefs won 27-21), and now this weekend, which is eagerly awaited throughout New Zealand.

Chiefs: 15 Charlie Ngatai (captain), 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Johnny Faauli, 11 Solomon Alaimalo, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Taleni Seu, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Mitchell Brown, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Aidan Ross.
Replacements: 16 Liam Polwart, 17 Atunaisa Moli, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Liam Messam, 20 Lachlan Boshier, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Sean Wainui.

Date: Saturday, February 24
Venue: AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Kick-off: 19.35 (06.35 GMT)
Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), James Doleman (New Zealand)
TMO: Aaron Paterson (New Zealand)

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 25 May 2018
Crusaders v Hurricanes 07h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sunwolves 09h45 Melbourne
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sat, 26 May 2018
Chiefs v Waratahs 07h35 Hamilton
Bulls v Brumbies 13h05 Loftus Versfeld
Exeter Chiefs v Saracens 14h00 London
Stormers v Lions 15h15 Newlands
Leinster v Scarlets 17h00 Dublin
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 11 6 1 4 31
Rebels 11 5 0 6 25
Reds 11 4 0 7 18
Brumbies 11 3 0 8 16
Sunwolves 11 0 9 10
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 10 0 2 46
Hurricanes 11 10 0 1 45
Highlanders 11 7 0 4 32
Chiefs 11 7 0 4 32
Blues 12 3 0 9 17
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 13 7 0 6 36
Jaguares 12 7 0 5 29
Sharks 12 5 1 6 28
Bulls 12 5 0 7 24
Stormers 13 5 0 8 23