Chiefs Super Rugby head coach Colin Cooper has named a team with seven changes for this Saturday’s match against the Waratahs in Hamilton.
In the forwards, All Blacks Nathan Harris and Brodie Retallick return to the number two and four jerseys respectively, while exciting flanker Mitchell Karpik gets a start at number seven. Veteran Liam Messam will wear the number eight jersey.
Damian McKenzie and Anton Lienert-Brown return to the backline after time at the All Blacks camp, and Toni Pulu starts at right wing. It’s a first chance this season to see the midfield pairing of Charlie Ngatai and Lienert-Brown in action together, which fans can get excited about.
Newest All Blacks recruits Karl Tu’inukuafe and Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi both feature in the 23, with Karl starting at loosehead and Te Toiroa on the bench. Cooper commented on their determination to take all opportunities offered this season.
“Karl and Te Toiroa are two guys that have put their hands up and have got opportunities through injuries and their form, and they’re now All Blacks. They’ve done really well.”.
Head Coach Colin Cooper said that the team are doing a lot of work and planning on how to nullify the Waratahs attack.
“The team have travelled back from South Africa well, and brought five points back, which we are pretty happy about. Now it’s about getting ready for a tough Waratahs match. They have really shown against New Zealand opposition what their attack can do, so we are doing a lot of work defensively to stop the Waratahs and their attack play.”
“Recovery is key. We felt there were some inaccuracies in our attack flow in our previous game and we will look to execute better this weekend.”
1. Karl Tu’inukuafe, 2. Nathan Harris , 3. Angus Ta’avao , 4. Brodie Retallick, 5. Michael Allardice, 6. Luke Jacobson, 7. Mitch Karpik, 8. Liam Messam , 9. Brad Weber, 10. Damian McKenzie , 11. Sean Wainui, 12. Charlie Ngatai (C), 13. Anton Lienert-Brown , 14. Toni Pulu , 15. Solomon Alaimalo
Replacements : 16. Samisoni Taukei’aho , 17. Sam Prattley , 18. Jeff Thwaites , 19. Jesse Parete, 20. Matt Matich, 21. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22. Marty McKenzie , 23. Shaun Stevenson,