Chiefs' Messam back in the starting XV
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The ever experienced Liam Messam returns to teh starting XV as one of three changes for the Chiefs' Super RUgby mathc gainst against northern rivals the Blues at Eden Park in Auckland.
Messam partner up with Sam Cane and Taleni Seu as the loose-forward trio.
The other change in the forward pack is at lock with Michael Allardice coming into partner Brodie Retallick.
While in the backline, Sean Wainui makes his first start for the Chiefs on the wing with the talented Shaun Stevenson moving to fullback.
The Chiefs will want to get their season at home underway with a win especially after their defeat to the Crusaders last weekend.
Chiefs: 15 Shaun Stevenson, 14 Sean Wainui, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Johnny Faauli, 11 Solomon Alaimalo, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Taleni Seu, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Michael Allardice, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Aidan Ross.
Replacements: 16 Liam Polwart, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Mitchell Brown*/Luke Jacobson, 20 Lachlan Boshier, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Tiaan Falcon, 23 Bailyn Sullivan/Declan O’Donnell.
Date: Friday, March 2
Venue: FMG Stadium, Waikato
Kick-off: 19.35 (06.35 GMT)
Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand), Angus Mabey (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)