The Chiefs have ventured overseas this week and have travelled to Tokyo to face the Sunwolves at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium on Saturday 15 February at 4.45pm (NZT).
Gallagher Chiefs Head Coach Warren Gatland has made a number of changes to his side in week three of the Investec Super Rugby competition, choosing to rest several experienced players.
Bradley Slater will earn his first start of the season, with Samisoni Taukei’aho providing cover on the bench. Aidan Ross and Atu Moli, will combine with Slater for a powerful front row.
Canadian international Tyler Ardron will pair with the experienced Michael Allardice as this week’s starting locking duo.
Former All Black loose forward Adam Thomson returns to Super Rugby, making his Chiefs debut at six with Lachlan Boshier shifting to the openside. Dylan Nel will make his Investec Super Rugby debut in the number eight jersey.
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In the backs, halfback Brad Weber will captain the side in his first start of the season, seeing Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi shifting to the bench as cover.
Weber will combine with first five-eighth Kaleb Trask. Alex Nankivell moves into the midfield in jersey number 12. Shaun Stevenson the only other change to the backline will start on the right wing.
Journeyman Ross Geldenhuys will be joined by Gallagher Chief debutant Reuben O’Neill in jersey’s 17 and 18 respectively. Naitoa Ah Kuoi will once again ably cover the locking duo with Mitchell Brown providing loose forward cover. First five-eighth Tiaan Falcon makes a welcome return to Investec Super Rugby alongside midfielder Orbyn Leger.
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Gatland said this was a great opportunity for a number of players to get some game time under their belt.
“We have started the season two from two, to continue this momentum it is important we rotate our squad. We have rested several players this weekend, but this provides an opportunity for those who have been working hard over the pre-season to have some game time.
“We are coming off the back of two tough games and we are pleased to be where we are, but we know the Sunwolves are a competitive side who can upset teams.
“They stunned us last year winning 30-15 in their first overseas win. Our job is to build on what we have achieved so far and continue to show improvement.”
Chiefs: Damian McKenzie, Shaun Stevenson, Quinn Tupaea, Alex Nankivell, Solomon Alaimalo, Kaleb Trask, Brad Weber (c), Dylan Nel, Lachlan Boshier, Adam Thomson, Michael Allardice, Tyler Ardron, Atu Moli, Bradley Slater, Aidan Ross. Reserves: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Ross Geldenhuys, Reuben O’Neill, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Mitchell Brown, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Tiaan Falcon, Orbyn Leger.
– Chiefs Rugby
New Zealand Rugby is set to review the controversial All Blacks rest policy:
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