Chiefs shake up team for semifinal
Chiefs shake up team for semifinalSHARE
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie made seven changes to his team for the Super Rugby semifinal showdown with the Crusaders at the Waikato Stadium this Saturday.
Andrew Horrell and Charlie Ngatai are the starting midfield pair and are joined by Asaeli Tikoirotuma on the wing and Gareth Anscombe at fullback.
Rhys Marshall comes onto the bench, replacing Mahonri Schwalger – who is kept out this week with a knee injury.
Marshall is joined among the replacements by prop Ben Afeaki, Bundee Aki and Robbie Robinson.
Rennie said the right to host this game is the result of a lot of hard work by a lot of people and that his side is excited by the challenge of keeping their title defence alive against a team who has won the competition seven times before.
"We had an enormous amount of injuries in the first half of the campaign," Rennie said.
"So to win our conference and finish top seed speaks volumes for the culture and depth of our squad.
"But at this stage of the season, seedings and previous results count for little. Success for us comes down to a willingness to scrap hard for each other for 80 minutes.
"The reward will be a home Final and a shot at another title," Rennie added.
* There will be a moment's silence at the beginning of the match to remember New Zealand player Willie Halaifonua from the Takapuna club who passed away this week.
With the weather forecast expected to be fine ticket sales are ahead of the semifinal clash from last year, with tickets still available in all areas.
There have been nearly 19,000 tickets sold for the match.
Chiefs: 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Andrew Horrell, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Matt Vant Leven, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke (captain), 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Ben Afeaki, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Augustine Pulu, 21 Bundee Aki, 22 Robbie Robinson.
Date: Saturday, July 27
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-off: 19.35 (17.35 NSW/ACT; 07.35 GMT)
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Glen Jackson (New Zealand), Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)