Chiefs coach Dave Rennie has named a Super Rugby team with five changes for this weekend’s match against South Africa’s Sharks at Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth.
The match will be the first time in Super Rugby that the two teams have met on Taranaki soil and there are debuts for 27-year-old Tasman prop Kane Hames and 21-year-old Taranaki loose-forward Lachlan Boshier.
Hames and Boshier are both named on the replacements bench. Hames is set to make his first appearance in a #Chiefs jersey while Boshier is set to make his full Super Rugby debut.
Rennie has made five changes to the starting fifteen which defeated the Hurricanes in a one-point thriller last Saturday.
In the forwards Hika Elliot and Japan Test prop Hiroshi Yamashita will pack down alongside Taranaki loosehead Mitchell Graham who makes his seventh consecutive start for the Chiefs.
Dominic Bird returns from injury to partner at lock with Brodie Retallick. Taleni Seu is promoted from the reserves to wear jersey six, alongside co-captain Sam Cane and number 8 Michael Leitch.
There’s just one change in the backs with Anton Lienert-Brown returning from injury to start at second five-eighth. He is joined in the mid-field by Taranaki’s Seta Tamanivalu at centre.
Brad Weber starts at halfback with support from co-captain Aaron Cruden at first five-eighth. Sam McNicol, Toni Pulu and Damian McKenzie complete the backline in jerseys 11, 14 and 15 respectively.
“We’re looking forward to spending time in the southernmost part of Chiefs country when we take on a quality Sharks side at Yarrow Stadium this Friday,” said coach Dave Rennie.
“As a Club, we have a very strong relationship with Taranaki Rugby that continues to grow from strength-to-strength. At present, 8 Taranaki players are involved in the Chiefs squad including Lachlan Boshier who is in line to make his debut this Friday, with a further 5 players in this year’s Chiefs Development side.
“A major driver for Taranaki Rugby in joining the Chiefs whanau was to bring more Super Rugby games to the province. We continue to deliver on that objective, with this being our fifth game in three years. ”
“We urge Taranaki to make the most of this opportunity to see some of the best rugby players in the world in their own backyard. Get along this Friday to support your own and share in the experience with us” said Rennie.
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. Sam McNicol , 12. Anton Lienert-Brown , 13. Seta Tamanivalu , 14. Toni Pulu , 15. Damian McKenzie
Replacments: 16. Nathan Harris , 17. Siate Tokolahi , 18. Kane Hames , 19. James Tucker , 20. Lachlan Boshier , 21. Kayne Hammington , 22. Andrew Horrell , 23. Shaun Stevenson