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Chiefs make multiple changes as they look to return to winning ways

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Looking to bounce back after their surprising defeat to the Queensland Reds in Brisbane on Saturday, the Chiefs have made seven changes to their starting side to play the Fijian Drua.


While they may have lost a thriller across the ditch in Round Three, the Chiefs are still second on the Super Rugby Pacific on the back of opening-two round wins over the Crusaders and Brumbies.

But with three teams locked on 10 competition points after a few rounds, and a further three teams just behind them on nine, the Chiefs will be desperate to return to winning ways at home.

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All Black Josh Lord is set to make a timely return to the Chiefs’ matchday squad, for the first time this season, following injuries to Naitoa Ah Kuoi and Tupou Vaa’i.

Of the changes in the forward pack, Ruben O’Neill has been promoted to the starting side while a new-look lock duo of Manaaki Selby-Rickit and Jimmy Tupou will pack down in the second row.

All Blacks Samipeni Finau and captain Luke Jacobson have both retained their spots in the backrow, but Simon Parker makes way for the always-reliable Kaylum Boshier.

Super Rugby veteran Anton Lienert-Brown returns to the starting side at outside centre, while Shaun Stevenson’s move from wing to fullback has opened the door for Daniel Rona to start in the No. 14 jumper.


“We are looking forward to hosting the Fijian Drua and the massive challenge they present,” coach Clayton McMillan said in a statement.

“Their willingness to play with flair and enterprise has been impressive and built off the back of a vastly improved set-piece.


“It was disappointing to lose against a tough Reds team, but it put a spotlight on areas of our game we need to improve, and that has been a big focus for us this week.

“Josh Lord’s return is timely given an injury to Naitoa Ah Kuoi and Tupou Vaa’i on an All Blacks load management week.


“Tom Florence also gets his first opportunity this year after impressing over the pre-season and in training.”

The Chiefs take on the Fijian Drua at Hamilton’s FMG Stadium Waikato at 7.30 pm (NZT) on Saturday evening. Earlier, the Chiefs Manawa will take on Matatu in Super Rugby Aupiki.

Chiefs team to take on Fijian Drua

  1. Aidan Ross
  2. Samisoni Taukei’aho
  3. Reuben O’Neill
  4. Manaaki Selby-Rickit
  5. Jimmy Tupou
  6. Samipeni Finau
  7. Kaylum Boshier
  8. Luke Jacobson (c)
  9. Cortez Ratima
  10. Damian McKenzie
  11. Etene Nanai-Seturo
  12. Rameka Poihipi
  13. Anton Lienert-Brown
  14. Daniel Rona
  15. Shaun Stevenson


  1. Bradley Slater
  2. Ollie Norris
  3. George Dyer
  4. Josh Lord
  5. Tom Florence
  6. Xavier Roe
  7. Josh Ioane
  8. Quinn Tupaea

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