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Chiefs make handful of changes in team for Super Rugby Pacific final

By Ned Lester
Shaun Stevenson of the Chiefs. Photo by Michael Bradley/Getty Images

Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan has delivered good and bad news in his team naming for the Super Rugby Pacific final at Eden Park.

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A battered and bruised Chiefs squad emerged from their monumental semi-final win over the Hurricanes in Wellington, and while it looked as if the club may have to call upon a local club player to fulfil their desperate need of another hooker, Bradley Slater has miraculously pulled up healthy enough for a green light.

Slater has been named on the bench for the contest, where he is joined by Manaaki Selby-Rickit who joins the matchday squad as second-row cover in the absence of Naitoa Ah Kuoi.

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Rassie Erasmus explains the way forward

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Rassie Erasmus explains the way forward

Another player present in the team naming who missed the semi-final is Shaun Stevenson. The All Black will be hoping to make it onto the pitch in the final after being named but pulling out late last week.

“The team are embracing finals week and look forward to what will be a massive occasion for rugby,” said Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan.

“The Blues have impressed with how they have gone about their work, establishing a harder edge under Vern (Cotter) whilst maintaining their ability to hurt you through their explosive backs. I can’t see them wavering from their willingness to kick long, pressure the ball and go to war through the middle of the park, so we at least know what’s coming our way.”

While it hasn’t been smooth sailing for the Chiefs in 2024, the coach is confident his team know what it takes after falling just short of a title 12 months ago.

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“We produced some good footy when it mattered and feel battle-hardened for a final. Our leaders have really stepped up, driven our preparation and led by example through their performances.

“It’s unfortunate to have lost some key players through injury, but no team has been immune to this, and you won’t see us worrying about something we can’t control. We are genuinely excited for the players who now get their opportunity. In Tyrone Thompson and Manaaki Selby-Rickit, we have two quality players who will serve the team extremely well,” said McMillan.

Related

Chiefs team to face the Blues

1. Aidan Ross
2. Tyrone Thompson
3. George Dyer
4. Jimmy Tupou
5. Tupou Vaa’i
6. Samipeni Finau
7. Luke Jacobson (captain)
8. Wallace Sititi
9. Cortez Ratima
10. Damian McKenzie
11. Etene Nanai-Seturo
12. Rameka Poihipi
13. Anton Lienert-Brown
14. Emoni Narawa
15. Shaun Stevenson

Reserves
16. Bradley Slater
17. Jared Proffit
18. Reuben O’Neill
19. Manaaki Selby-Rickit
20. Simon Parker
21. Xavier Roe
22. Quinn Tupaea
23. Daniel Rona

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Unavailable for selection: Josh Lord, Gideon Wrampling, Kaleb Trask, Malachi Wrampling, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, and Samisoni Taukei’aho.

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Comments

3 Comments
C
Chiefs Mana 23 days ago

Come on you good things - put last years demons to bed! Expecting a good showing from the Chiefs faithful

J
Jon 24 days ago

Aaah it’s good seeing a coach like McMillan throwing Tyrone in the deep end to start, he should be ruing the lack of opportunities hes handed out to him now though, with little over a 100minutes on the young stars belt this season.

I really hope that wasn’t an indication he is leaving rugby next year.

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Tom 53 minutes ago
All Blacks snatch another tight victory from England at Eden Park

First up to any of the ABs fans who accused us of “bluster” pre-series for saying it would be a competitive - I'm glad it turned out to be an excellent series to which the ABs were deserving winners and I hope next time a side tours you'll be a little more humble. I loved the heart shown by the English boys and how they managed to contain the AB attack for large parts of the series. Was very disappointed by the lack of cohesion and ambition ball in hand, we looked after the ball poorly and hardly went 2 phases without kicking it away. We're not giving ourselves enough opportunity to put phases together and build pressure. The ambition shown in the 6N against Ireland and France seems to have gone and our players look very hesitant with ball in hand, we look much better when Marcus is taking the ball flat and boys are running hard at the line. So frustrating when we're starting to build pressure in the 22 we go back to the grubber kick then find ourselves back on the half way line 10 seconds later. We've shown great success with our box kicking game but we need to leave the flipping grubber kick in the locker room. Like the Marcus Smith hail Mary miss pass that went straight to Mark Telea, we seem to have no patience. Sometimes we just need to recycle the ball and go again. Loving seeing Maro back to his best and Fin Baxter really impressed, Alex Mitchell looks to be one of the most complete 9s in world rugby, great around the base and impeccable kicking. Congrats to the ABs, far more dangerous and skillful than England. We contained you for large swathes but to shut down that amount of pace and skill for 80 mins is nigh on impossible. Managed to find a way to win and instinctively grabbed the rare opportunities which came your way. Finding ways to win in two tight test matches will I'm sure be a great experience for your younger players. Beauden needs to be in the starting 15, what a worldie.

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