McKenzie returns to fullback for Bulls clash
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Chiefs head coach Colin Cooper has named All Black Damian McKenzie at fullback when they host the Bulls in Hamilton on Friday.
McKenzie's switch to his regular fullback position after starting the season at flyhalf is one of four changes to the side that who managed a gruelling 27-21 win over northern neighbours the Blues in round three nearly a fortnight ago.
Taking the No.10 jersey is exciting youngster Tiaan Falcon.
There are three changes in the forward pack with Angus Ta’avao replacing the injured Nepo Laulala at tighthead prop, Mitchell Brown coming into partner Brodie Retallick and the impressive Lachlan Boshier moving into the loose forwards.
Angus Ta’avao and Sean Wainui both start, having come in as confirmed injury replacements for Atu Moli and Tim Nanai-Williams for the rest of the season. Wainui played a starring role in the win against the Blues, topped off with a great try, while Ta’avao made a good impact off the bench. Both players impressed throughout the pre-season, catching the eye of the coaches with their hard work and determination.
It is a special match for Bay of Plenty prop Jeff Thwaites who could make his Super Rugby debut off the bench.
Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Sean Wainui, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Johnny Fa'auli, 11 Solomon Alaimalo, 10 Tiaan Falcon, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Lachlan Boshier, 5 Mitchell Brown, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Aidan Ross
Replacements: 16 Liam Polwart, 17 Karl Tu'inukuafe, 18 Jeff Thwaites, 19 Michael Allardice, 20 Luke Jacobson, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Marty McKenzie/Bailyn Sullivan, 23 Declan O'Donnell
Date: Friday, March 16
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-off: 19.35 (06.35 GMT; 08.35 SA Time)
Referee: Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Richard Kelly (New Zealand)
TMO: Shane McDermott (New Zealand)