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Aaron Cruden omitted while Luke Jacobson returns for Chiefs' final Super Rugby Aotearoa match

Luke Jacobson of the Chiefs takes on Jackson Hemopo of the Highlanders. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

The Chiefs kick off their final Super Rugby Aotearoa match for 2020 when they take on the Hurricanes at Sky Stadium this Saturday evening in Wellington.

Chiefs head coach Warren Gatland has made several changes to his twenty-three for the 7.05pm derby clash.

The Gallagher Chiefs front row has a reshuffle with Ollie Norris set to start for the first time at loosehead. Samisoni Taukei’aho earns the starting role shifting Bradley Slater to the reserves bench. All Blacks prop Nepo Laulala will again start at tighthead. Locking duo of Naitoa Ah Kuoi and Mitchell Brown will complete the tight five. All Black Luke Jacobson returns after breaking his hand to start at six joining captain Sam Cane at seven and the powerful Pita Gus Sowakula at eight.

First five-eighth Kaleb Trask will steer the ship at ten in the only change to the starting backline.

The re-enforcements off the bench include Waikato prop Rob Cobb, who will be hoping to make his Super Rugby debut, alongside Taranaki back Kini Naholo who has been named in jersey number twenty-three. Other changes to the bench include lock Tupou Vaa’i and loose forward Mitchell Karpik joining the twenty-three.

Gatland said this weekend was a chance to develop a young group of men and finish on a high.

“This weekend is an opportunity to grow and develop some of our young players. We have two young debutants sitting on the bench who have been training hard and it is a good chance for them to get a taste of Super Rugby.”

“There is still a lot to play for in our eyes. The team have a lot of pride in the jersey and our club. As always, they will be leaving it all on the field,” said Gatland.

Chiefs: Damian McKenzie, Shaun Stevenson, Anton Lienert-Brown, Alex Nankivell, Sean Wainui, Kaleb Trask, Brad Weber, Peter Gus Sowakula, Sam Cane, Luke Jacobson, Mitchell Brown, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Nepo Laulala, Samison Taukei’aho, Ollie Norris. Reserves: Bradley Slater, Robb Cobb, Angus Ta’avao, Tupou Vaa’i, Mitchell Karpik, Lisati Milo-Harris, Quinn Tupaea, Kini Naholo.


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