Super Rugby

Chiefs make eleven changes for Sunwolves



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Chiefs Super Rugby head coach Dave Rennie has named a regenerated lineup with 11 changes for their first ever match against the Sunwolves this Saturday at FMG Stadium Waikato.

Rennie has made two positional changes and nine personnel changes to the starting fifteen that defeated the Western Force 16-7 last Saturday.

In the forwards, there’s a new look front row with Kane Hames and Nepo Laulala returning to the playing 23 to start in jerseys 1 and 3 respectively.

Hika Elliot is promoted from the bench to start at hooker. Dominic Bird retains his place at lock for the second consecutive week, partnering with Taleni Seu who moves from the reserves to start in jersey 5.

Tom Sanders rejoins the playing 23 this week to start at blindside flanker.

He’s joined in the loose forwards by Mitchell Karpik who gets his second start of the season at openside flanker and co-captain Sam Cane who switches to number 8 this week.

The changes continue in the backs with Jonathan Taumateine named to make his first start for the Chiefs at halfback. He’ll have plenty of support from experienced co-captain Aaron Cruden who starts at first five-eighth for the fifth game in a row.

The two positional changes sees Sam McNicol switch from centre to the left wing, with Anton Lienert-Brown slotting into the vacated 13 jersey from second five-eighth. Stephen Donald is promoted from the bench to start in jersey 12.

Solomon Alaimalo earns his second start of the season to play on the right wing and Damian McKenzie retains his spot as starting fullback.

Following three weeks abroad, the Chiefs are eager to play in front of their fans at home and extend a special Chiefs welcome to the Sunwolves and their loyal following.

Brad Weber, Mitchell Graham, Nathan Harris, Glen Fisiiahi, Tim Nanai-Williams, Liam Polwart, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Toni Pulu, Charlie Ngatai, James Tucker, Michael Allardice, Johnny Faauli and Finlay Christie were all unavailable for selection.


1. Kane Hames , 2. Hika Elliot , 3. Nepo Laulala, 4. Dominic Bird , 5. Taleni Seu , 6. Tom Sanders, 7. Mitchell Karpik , 8. Sam Cane , 9. Jonathan Taumateine, 10. Aaron Cruden (co-captain, 11. Sam McNicol , 12. Stephen Donald, 13. Anton Lienert-Brown , 14. Solomon Alaimalo, 15. Damian McKenzie

Replacements : 16. Brayden Mitchell , 17. Aidan Ross, 18. Sosefo Kautai , 19. Mitchell Brown , 20. Liam Messam , 21. Alex Nankivell, 22. Shaun Stevenson , 23. James Lowe,

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