Lauaki & Kahui Make Chiefs Starting Line-Up




The Chiefs welcome back loose forward Sione Lauaki and centre Richard Kahui to their starting line-up when they take on the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria this Sunday morning (NZ time).

There is also an outside chance that lock Keith Robinson may have fully recovered from a calf strain and could be deemed fit to play in this match. Chiefs coach Ian Foster has bracketed Robinson with Kristian Ormsby in the starting fifteen.

Chiefs first five-eighth Stephen Donald, who suffered a groin strain in last weekend’s match against the Stormers, is also bracketed alongside rookie Chief Murray Williams.

A decision on whether Donald or Robinson will start will be made on game day.

The Chiefs loose forward trio this weekend sees captain Steven Bates at blindside, Marty Holah on the openside, with Lauaki starting at number eight. Liam Messam is moved to the reserve 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 Sunday. The talented midfielder currently has eight Rebel Sport 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.

Chiefs coach Ian Foster says the return of Kahui, Lauaki and possibly 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.”

The Chiefs play the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Sunday 25 February at 4.00am (NZ time).

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)

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