Thu 27 Feb 2014 | 08:59
Chiefs shuffle pack for Highlanders
Thu 27 Feb 2014 | 08:59
Chiefs shuffle pack for HighlandersSHARE
The Chiefs have made six changes to their starting line-up, including five in the forward pack, to play the Highlanders in Hamilton on Saturday.
After their draining 18-10 victory against the Crusaders last week, the Chiefs coaching staff have looked to rotate in positions where they have depth to give other players a chance to a start.
This approach will see Pauliasi Manu start at loosehead prop, with Jamie Mackintosh moving to the bench.
Mahonri Schwalger will make his long-awaited return to rugby since sitting out the 2013 ITM Cup with a knee injury, and starts at hooker. Rhys Marshall drops to the bench.
Lock Matt Symons and flanker Nick Crosswell come into the starting line-up for Brodie Retallick and Nick Thompson respectively.
They are joined by Tanerau Latimer, who replaces Tevita Koloamatangi, with Liam Messam moving into the eightman spot.
Tawera Kerr-Barlow has recovered from an ankle injury to start at scrumhalf and he replaces the injured Augustine Pulu, while the rest of the the backline remains the same.
Mils Muliaina is fit to start despite leaving the field with an injured elbow in the first half of last week's win over the Crusaders.
After blooding seven new players last week, including five Super Rugby debutants, the Chiefs will increase that number with Liam Squire having his chance to make his debut off the bench.
Josh Hohneck comes onto the bench to replace the injured Ben Afeaki – who suffered a nasty headclash with Retallick against the Crusaders.
Chiefs Coach Dave Rennie said "I was really impressed with the passion and the physicality that the Highlanders played with last week.
"I really felt they outmuscled and out-enthused the Blues, so it will be another entertaining New Zealand derby match on Saturday night."
Chiefs: 15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Tim Nanai-Williams, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden (captain), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Nick Crosswell, 5 Matt Symons, 4 Michael Fitzgerald, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Mahonri Schwalger, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Jamie Mackintosh, 18 Josh Hohneck, 19 Tevita Koloamatangi, 20 Liam Squire, 21 Brad Webber, 22 Andrew Horrell, 23 James Lowe.
Date: Saturday, March 1
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-off: 19.35 (06.35 GMT)
Referee: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
Assistant referees: Garratt Williamson, (New Zealand) Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)