Super rugby Aotearoa

Chiefs’ Stevenson to earn 50th cap against Blues

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The Chiefs will return home to FMG Stadium Waikato to take on the Blues in their first home game of the Super Rugby Aotearoa season on Saturday 20 June.

The fans will not only be celebrating the side’s first home game of Super Rugby Aotearoa, utility back Shaun Stevenson will run out on the right-wing for his 50th game in the Chiefs jersey.

Chiefs Head Coach Warren Gatland has named a determined twenty-three to face an in-form Blues team.

Lock Naitoa Ah Kuoi will move from the bench into the starting fifteen in jersey number five to combine with last week’s debutant Tupou Vaa’i, in the only changes to the Chiefs forward pack.

All Blacks Halfback Brad Weber will again captain the side in the absence of Chiefs and All Blacks Captain Sam Cane.

Weber will combine with experienced first five-eighth Aaron Cruden at ten in the only change from last week’s starting backline, with Bay of Plenty’s Kaleb Trask providing cover on the bench.

The Chiefs reinforcements of prop Reuben O’Neill, loose forward veteran Adam Thomson, rookie Lisati Milo-Harris and electrifying back Solomon Alaimalo will complete an exciting twenty-three.

Gatland said the team were eager to return to FMG Stadium Waikato and deliver a much-improved performance for their fans. “Last week against the Highlanders we weren’t clinical enough and they capitalized on those opportunities we gave them. This week we need to be sharper and deliver a more dominant performance.

“The Blues have some great playmakers and will be a dangerous team. They performed well last week against the Hurricanes and will be hoping to back it up again.

“The guys are excited to run out to the field in front of what is expected to be a near-capacity crowd. It is now up to us to deliver for them and show our thanks for their support,” said Gatland.

Gatland finished congratulating Stevenson on his achievement. “Shaun is a talented player, who has great attacking ability. He has already demonstrated that earlier this year on a number of occasions and we hope this weekend he can celebrate in a similar fashion.”

Chiefs

15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Quinn Tupaea, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Sean Wainui, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Pita Gus Sowakula, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Luke Jacobson, 5 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 4 Tupou Vaa’l, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 Aidan Ross

Replacements: 16 Bradley Slater, 17 Reuben O’Neill, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Adam Thomson, 20 Dylan Nel, 21 Lisati Milo-Harris, 22 Kaleb Trask, 23 Solomon Alaimalo

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