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

By Online Editors
Brad Weber will captain the Chiefs in Brodie Retallick's absence. (Photo by Michael Bradley/Getty Images)

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

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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.”

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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.

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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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finn 8 hours ago
Massive red flag raised by weakened Champions Cup teams – Andy Goode

I wonder if the problem of some teams not taking it that seriously would be helped by making performance in the champions cup count towards qualification and/or seeding in the following year’s competition. Eg. top four seeds would be winners of the URC, premiership, and top 14, plus best performing team in the previous year’s CC who have not otherwise qualified. Doing that the seedings for this years comp. would have been: Tier one: Saracens - Munster - Toulouse - la Rochelle Tier two: Sale - Stormers - Racing 92 - Leinster Tier three: Leicester - Connacht - Bordeaux - Exeter Tier four: Northampton - Ulster - Lyon - Sharks Tier five: Harlequins - Glasgow - Stade Francais - Edinburgh Tier six: Bath - Bulls - Toulon - Ospreys The competition would probably work better with fewer teams, so I’d probably favour only the first 4 tiers being invited, and then going straight to a quarter final without a round of 16. On the one hand this would possibly incentivise teams to take the champions cup seriously, and on the other it would mean that the latter stages would be more likely to involve teams that have demonstrated a willingness to take the competition seriously. The main differences between my proposed system and the actual draw is that mine would give la Rochelle a fairly easy ride to the quarters, and would either exclude the Bulls entirely or would give then an insurmountably difficult draw. As it happened Exeter got quite an easy pool draw but that was a bit of a fluke. My system would reward Exeter for being one of the teams that demonstrably devote a lot of attention to the CC by guaranteeing them a good draw.

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