Kahui may not tackle the Bulls




The Chiefs’ hopes of using both loose forward Sione Lauaki and centre Richard Kahui when they tackle the Bulls in a Super 14 Round Four match at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday faded as soon as they were raised.

Kahui, who was rushed to South Africa this week after recovering from a shoulder injury, may be ruled out before he even takes to the field. It has been confirmed that his hamstring has tightened at training.

Chiefs coach Ian Foster said Kahui was unable to complete the session, after his hamstring tightened up. Foster said they will monitor him over the next 48 hours.

A decision on whether Kahui, Stephen Donald and Keith Robinson will start will be made only on game day.

Earlier the Chiefs announced a team with all three featuring in the starting XV.

There is still an outside chance that the tall lock, Robinson, may fully recover from a calf strain and could be deemed fit to play in this match.

Foster has bracketed Robinson with Kristian Ormsby in the starting fifteen.

Chiefs first five-eighth (number 10), Donald, who suffered a groin strain in last weekend’s heart-breaking 21-16 defeat at the hands of the Stormers, is also bracketed alongside rookie Chief Murray Williams.

The Chiefs loose forward trio this weekend sees captain Steven Bates at blindside flank, Marty Holah on the openside flank, with Lauaki starting at number eight. Liam Messam is moved to the replacement bench.

Bates will be playing his 50th game for the Chiefs.

In the backs, Brendon Leonard gets the nod to wear the number nine jersey, Kahui slots in at centre alongside Tane Tu’ipulotu and Niva Ta’auso is midfield cover in the reserves.

Kahui will earn his first Chiefs cap on Saturday if he passes a late fitness test. The talented midfielder currently has eight Super 14 caps – all for the Highlanders.

Kahui, 21, arrived in South Africa earlier in the week. He got the call up to join the Chiefs after passing a fitness test on his shoulder last weekend.

Foster says the possible return of Kahui, Lauaki and Robinson will lift the team’s confidence.

“We are excited about the Loftus challenge. We are well aware of the Bulls’ loss at home last week and it can be a hard place to play rugby. But our team is very determined to perform well in South Africa. We need to take whatever points we can over here.”

Foster acknowledges Bates’ upcoming milestone of 50 games for the Chiefs saying: “He has been a great performer since his debut in 2002.”

Chiefs: 15 Dwayne Sweeney, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Richard Kahui, 12 Tane Tu’ipulotu, 11 Roy Kinikinilau, 10 Stephen Donald/Murray Williams, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Sione Lauaki, 7 Marty Holah, 6 Steven Bates (c), 5 Toby Lynn, 4 Kristian Ormsby/Keith Robinson, 3 Nathan White, 2 Tom Willis, 1 Simms Davison
Replacements: 16 Aled de Malmanche, 17 Ben Castle, 18 Kristian Ormsby/Tanerau Latimer/Andrew van der Heidjen, 19 Liam Messam 20 Jamie Nutbrown, 21 Murray Williams/Anthony Tahana, 22 Niva Ta’auso

Date: Saturday, 24 February
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 17.00 (15.00 GMT)
Referee: James Leckie (Australia)
Touch judges: Geoff Acton (Australia), Phillip Bosch (South Africa)
Television match official: Johann Meuwesen (South Africa)

365 Digital

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