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Ta’auso Set to Start in Chiefs v Bulls Clash

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Crashing midfielder Niva Ta’auso returns to the Chiefs line up this Saturday when the Chiefs take on the Bulls at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton.


Ta’auso, 25, will start at centre alongside Sam Tuitupou who comes back into the line-up at second five-eighth.


So far this season Ta’auso has only played 20 minutes of Rebel Sport Super 14 rugby. He unfortunately damaged his ankle ligaments during the first Chiefs match of the season against the Sharks in Durban.


Chiefs coach Ian Foster says Ta’auso has been training ‘very well’ over the past couple of weeks. ‘He was our number one centre during last year’s campaign. He has worked hard to get out there and play again and Saturday will be an exciting opportunity for him.’


Foster’s backline selections for Saturday’s match were complicated due to David Hill’s bruised knee still being marginal, as well as Mark Ranby straining a hamstring at training this morning.


Mils Muliaina has been named at fullback with Loki Crichton returning to the reserves bench this week to cover the first five-eighth and fullback positions.


Byron Kelleher gets the nod ahead of Jamie Nutbrown for the number 9 spot against the Bulls.


‘Byron has had a great week. In saying that, we have also been extremely pleased with Jamie’s last two starts as he is performing at a good level. But now Byron is over his travels, he has been in great condition this week and we are now looking forward to starting him again.’


In the forwards Simms Davison will start at loosehead prop after recovering from last week’s hamstring strain, while Nathan White will start at tighthead.


‘Last weekend we were pleased with Nathan’s performance. Whilst Ben (Castle) had been performing well all campaign we felt we could give him a break for this match.’


Meanwhile, Jono Gibbes has been bracketed with Kristian Ormsby in the reserves.


Foster says Gibbes’ haematoma is still healing but says he is unsure whether he will be in the starting 22 until closer to kick off on Saturday.


The Chiefs v Bulls match will be played on Saturday 8 April at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton. Kick off is 5.30pm.


The Chiefs team is:


1. Simms Davison
2. Tom Willis
3. Nathan White
4. Bernie Upton
5. Sean Hohneck
6. Steven Bates
7. Marty Holah (captain)
8. Sione Lauaki
9. Byron Kelleher
10. Stephen Donald
11. Sitiveni Sivivatu
12. Sam Tuitupou
13. Niva Ta’auso
14. Sosene Anesi
15. Mils Muliaina


Reserves: Aleki Lutui, Ben Castle, Jono Gibbes/Kristian Ormsby, Liam Messam, Jamie Nutbrown, David Hill/Mark Ranby/Lelia Masaga, Loki Crichton.

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