Chiefs coach Dave Rennie has named a Super Rugby team with two changes to his starting team to play the Highlanders in Hamilton on Saturday.
The Chiefs beat the Sharks in their last outing and the two changes to Rennie’s last side are both in the backs.
Winger James Lowe and influential second five-eighth Charlie Ngatai both return from injury to start against the Highlanders.
There are changes on the replacements bench as Michael Allardice and Maama Vaipulu also return from injury to re-join the 23.
Counties Manukau utility back Sam Vaka is poised to make his Super Rugby debut off the bench. The agile 23-year-old adds an exciting edge to the reserves having previously played for the All Blacks Sevens team.
Head coach Dave Rennie said: “We’ve been working hard this week to prepare for a massive challenge on Saturday night. ”
“The Highlanders are very similar to us, they’ve got a group of guys who work hard for each other. With game-breakers across the park, they are the type of team that will sting you if you kick poorly or turn the ball over. ”
“It’ll be a hell of a spectacle with two very positive kiwi teams on display.”
Nepo Laulala, Mitchell Karpik, Augustine Pulu, Johan Bardoul, Pauliasi Manu, Sam Henwood, Tevita Koloamatangi, Tom Sanders, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Atu Moli, Glen Fisiiahi, Sam McNicol and Latu Vaeno.were all not considered for selection.
1. Mitchell Graham , 2. Hika Elliot , 3. Hiroshi Yamashita , 4. Dominic Bird , 5. Brodie Retallick , 6. Taleni Seu , 7. Sam Cane (cc), 8. Michael Leitch ,, 9. Brad Weber, 10. Aaron Cruden (cc), 11. James Lowe , 12. Charlie Ngatai , 13. Seta Tamanivalu , 14. Toni Pulu , 15. Damian McKenzie
Replacements : 16. Nathan Harris , 17. Siate Tokolahi, 18. Kane Hames, 19. Michael Allardice, 20. Maama Vaipulu , 21. Kayne Hammington , 22. Anton Lienert-Brown , 23. Sam Vaka**
**denotes Super Rugby debut