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Chiefs dealt numerous injury blows ahead of Moana Pasifika clash

By Ned Lester
Damian McKenzie of the All Blacks looks on during the New Zealand Captain's Run ahead of their Rugby World Cup France 2023 match against Argentina at Stade Omnisport Croissy on October 19, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

The Chiefs have revealed some good news and bad news on the injury front ahead of their round 11 clash with Moana Pasifika, with a couple of All Blacks sidelined and one of their most promising youngsters returning for the contest.

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Star first five-eighth Damian Mckenzie will miss the match following a concussion against the Western Force, while fellow All Blacks Samipeni Finau and Shaun Stevenson will also spend 3 to 4 weeks and one week on the sidelines respectively.

The news is unfortunately even worse for the injury-prone Josh Lord, who has been ruled out for the remainder of the Super Rugby Pacific campaign due to a knee injury. This follows an ankle injury that has kept the All Black sidelined for the majority of the Super Rugby season to date.

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Thankfully, the team welcome back 22-year-old Gideon Wrampling, with the versatile back named in the 23 jersey for the contest.

“When you understand the challenges someone like Gideon Wrampling has been through to get back playing, you can’t help but get excited for him and others who have been diligently waiting for their opportunity to showcase their ability,” Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan said.

“We look forward to being hosted by Moana Pasifika in Culture Week. It was amazing to see the interest and atmosphere generated from their game last week in Tonga, and I’m sure their New Zealand-based supporters will be keen to get along to support them as we head into an important phase for all teams.”

With McKenzie out, young Josh Jacomb has been handed the No. 10 jersey while Manaaki Selby-Rickit fills in for the injured locks and Daniel Rona takes up duties on the left wing as Etene Nanai-Seturo slots into fullback to cover Stevenson.

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The Chiefs touched down with a record 10 tries the last time the two teams met, but McMillan was under no illusions his team face an improved Moana Pasifika outfit this time around.

“We anticipate meeting a fired-up Moana Pasifika team. We know that history is not always a great predictor of your future, so we are taking nothing for granted, despite our recent success against them in round seven,” said McMillan.

“The team has been hit with injuries in recent weeks, predominantly at lock, but we are fortunate to have some depth in that position. No team is immune from injury setbacks in a collision-based sport, and our belief has always been it takes a full squad to go deep in the competition.”

Related

The Chiefs have included each of the matchday 23’s iwi, tribe and/or region in their team naming to celebrate Super Rugby’s culture round.

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Chiefs team to face Moana Pasifika 

1. Ollie Norris – Ngapuhi
2. Samisoni Taukei’aho – Fahefa, ‘Ofu Vava’u (Tonga)
3. Reuben O’Neill – Taranaki
4. Manaaki Selby-Rickit – Ngati Raukawa / Ngati Tuwharetoa
5. Tupou Vaa’i – Petani Eua, Koloa Vavau (Tonga)
6. Simon Parker – Northland
7. Luke Jacobson (captain) – Waikato
8. Wallace Sititi – Alafua, Lotopa, Safaatoa, Tufulele (Samoa)
9. Xavier Roe – Coromandel
10. Josh Jacomb – Taranaki
11. Daniel Rona – Te Ati Awa
12. Quinn Tupaea – Tainui
13. Anton Lienert-Brown – Lepea Faleata, Lalo Vaea, and Lotofaga
14. Liam Coombes-Fabling – Waikato
15. Etene Nanai-Seturo – Falelatai and Salelologa Savaii (Samoa)

Reserves

16. Tyrone Thompson – Ngai Tamanuhiri / Ngati Rangiwewehi
17. Jared Proffit – Ngati Porou
18. Sione Ahio – Pea, Niua Toputapu and Alaki Fonua
19. Hamilton Burr – Scotland
20. Kaylum Boshier – Taranaki
21. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi – Ngati Pikiao
22. Rameka Poihipi – Te Arawa
23. Gideon Wrampling – Lalomanu Samoa, Alofi Niue

Unavailable for selection: Kaleb Trask (groin), Damian McKenzie (concussion), Shaun Stevenson (hamstring), Samipeni Finau (AC joint/shoulder), Jimmy Tupou (eye socket/nose fracture), Josh Lord (knee).

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