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Chiefs forced to field flankers in the second row as Weber takes the captain's armband

TEAM NAMING: The Chiefs are no strangers to injuries, but the locking situation in the Waikato is getting a bit dire.

Already without All Black Damian McKenzie, who is out for the rest of the season after rupturing his ACL against the Blues last weekend, the Chiefs will now have to do without captain Brodie Reallick in their game against the Lions on Friday night.

A relatively minor hand injury means Retallick will join fellow locks Michael Allardice, Riki Hoeata and Laghlan McWhannell on the sidelines.

Instead, loose forwards Tyler Ardron and Mitchell Brown will cover the second row – both players no strangers to locking a Chiefs scrum.

Retallick’s absence means Brad Weber is given the captain’s armband for the Friday night match.

“It is a huge honour to be named as captain for this Friday,” Weber said of his appointment.

“I am excited for the opportunity and am thankful to have a great bunch of guys around me which will make my job easier.”

In other changes to the side, Jack Debreczeni – himself only just returning from injury – will take McKenzie’s place at fullback while Liam Polwart starts at hooker in place of Nathan Harris who gets a rest for the week.

Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, who has only played a minor role in the campaign to date, also gets a rest – possibly as dictated by the All Blacks rest policy for Super Rugby players.

In the midfield, Alex Nankivell has been given a start after some impressive form this season. Tumua Manu, who’s grown with every match played, drops to the bench.

Ataata Moeakiola, who scored an excellent try in last weekend’s match after replacing McKenzie, is rewarded with a start due to the absence of Solomon Alaimalo. Shaun Stevenson, who has been absent for a number of weeks, will return via the bench.

Chiefs: Jack Debreczeni, Sean Wainui, Alex Nankivell, Anton Lienert-Brown, Ataata Moeakioli, Marty McKenzie, Brad Weber,Taleni Seu, Lachlan Boshier, Luke Jacobson, Mitchell Brown, Tyler Ardron, Nepo Laulala, Liam Polwart, Angus Ta’avao. Reserves: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Atu Moli, Sosefo Kautai, Jesse Parete, Pita Gus Sowakula, Jonathan Taumatein, Tumua Manu, Shaun Stevenson.

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Chiefs forced to field flankers in the second row as Weber takes the captain's armband