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Chiefs’ coaches wield the tomahawk

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Five changes have been made to the Chiefs team, including a reshuffle of the backline, to take on the Hurricanes in the second round of the Super 14 in Hamilton on Friday.


With wing Roy Kinikinilau being passed fit to play on Wednesday, coaches Ian Foster and Warren Gatland have altered the back three by shifting in-form Sosene Anesi back to full-back and giving youngster Lelia Masaga his first start on the right wing.


Waikato rookie Brendon Leonard, 21, gets a start at scrum-half in just the second game of his debut season, replacing Bay of Plenty’s Jamie Nutbrown.


There are also two changes to the tight five with Toby Lynn replacing Kristian Ormsby at lock and Craig West coming in at loose-head prop for Simms Davison to create an all-Waikato forward pack.


Both lock Keith Robinson (calf) and in-form centre Richard Kahui (shoulder) were ruled out of selection contention early and were not even required to submit to a fitness test on Wednesday.


Murray Williams takes his place on the bench to replace the injured Tasesa Lavea, who will be out for six to eight weeks with a medial ligament strain.


Meanwhile, flanker Steven Bates believes the Chiefs are not far away from putting a winning performance together but acknowledges they can’t afford to leave it any later than the clash against the Hurricanes if they are to stay in the hunt for Super 14 play-off spots.


“It’s not far away but if we don’t address it straight away we will be in trouble again – it’s that simple,” Bates said.


“Traditionally we’re not great starters in the Super 12 or Super 14 and we get very good towards the end. But we need a win this weekend, as they do, so it will be an interesting game.


“Little areas went well but as a whole we probably just weren’t clinical enough and in key moments of the game we were poor.”


The match between the two New Zealand franchises is set to be a mouth-watering encounter. The two sides met in the Final of the Air New Zealand Cup last year – with Waikato taking the honours on that occasion.


Both the Chiefs and the Hurricanes suffered losses in the first round of the Super 14, and will be looking to kick-start their campaign with a win.


Chiefs: 15 Sosene Anesi, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Niva Ta’auso, 12 Tane Tu’ipulotu, 11 Roy Kinikinilau, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Marty Holah, 6 Steven Bates, 5 Jono Gibbes (c), 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Nathan White, 2 Tom Willis, 1 Craig West
Replacements: 16 Aled de Malmanche, 17 Simms Davison, 18 Kristian Ormsby, 19 Tanerau Latimer, 20 Jamie Nutbrown, 21 Murray Williams, 22 Dwayne Sweeney


Date: Friday, 9 February
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-off: 19.35 (06.35 GMT)
Referee: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)
Touch judges: Paul Honiss (New Zealand), Gary Wise (New Zealand)
Television match official: Chris Rooney (New Zealand)

 

365 Digital

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