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Cruden starts for Chiefs against Crusaders

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Chiefs coach Dave Rennie has named his Super Rugby team to play the Crusaders at AMI Stadium in Christchurch with Aaron Cruden starting and five players making their debut for the side.

Rennie’s squad includes Hiroshi Yamashita, Taleni Seu, Tom Sanders and Shaun Stevenson in the starting line up and Latu Vaeno hoping to earn his first cap off the bench.

In the forwards, Pauliasi Manu, Rhys Marshall and Japan prop Hiroshi Yamashita will pack down in the front row with Michael Allardice and All Black Brodie Retallick at lock.

The loose forward trio consists of Taleni Seu, All Black Sam Cane and Canterbury number 8 Tom Sanders.

In the backs, experienced All Black halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow gets the start, with Chiefs co-captain Aaron Cruden making his long awaited return to Super Rugby at first five-eighth.

Taranaki teammates Charlie Ngatai and Seta Tamanivalu combine in the midfield with James Lowe and Shaun Stevenson on the wings. Damian McKenzie will start at fullback.

Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie said: “It’s been a long build-up and we’re all excited that the competitions finally about to start. Our 23 is a blend of youth and experience with several players making their Super Rugby debuts. We’re really happy with the hard work and development that’s gone into the past three months.

“History tells us that Chiefs and Crusaders clashes are physical and high paced encounters and I’m sure this weekend will be no different.”

Chiefs

1. Pauliasi Manu , 2. Rhys Marshall , 3. Hiroshi Yamashita** , 4. Michael Allardice , 5. Brodie Retallick , 6. Taleni Seu** , 7. Sam Cane co-captain , 8. Tom Sanders** , 9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow , 10. Aaron Cruden co-captain , 11. James Lowe , 12. Charlie Ngatai , 13. Seta Tamanivalu , 14. Shaun Stevenson** , 15. Damian McKenzie

Replacements : 16. Nathan Harris , 17. Mitchell Graham , 18. Siate Tokolahi , 19. Maama Vaipulu , 20. Johan Bardoul , 21. Brad Weber , 22. Anton Lienert-Brown , 23. Latu Vaeno**

**denotes Super Rugby debutant

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