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Chiefs name ‘relatively unchanged’ side for sold-out final

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Kerry Marshall/Getty Images)

The Chiefs “have named a relatively unchanged line-up” for their highly anticipated Super Rugby Pacific final against the champion Crusaders on Saturday evening.

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Looking to end the Crusaders’ unrivalled dynasty of six Super Rugby titles in as many years – which would extend to seven – coach Clayton McMillan has named a formidable side.

Co-captain Sam Cane will join legendary flanker Liam Messam as the only two players in Chiefs history to play 150 games for the proud Hamilton-based franchise.

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Cane will lead the team out onto FMG Stadium along with veteran halfback Brad Weber. Weber is preparing to play his final match for the Chiefs are signing for Stade Francais in France.

The Chiefs have only made one change to their starting side, with All Black Pita Gus Sowakula coming into the starting side for Samipeni Finau.

Coach Clayton McMillan believes the minor premiers are ready to “deal with whatever comes our way” in Saturday’s decider.

“We are fortunate to have named a relatively unchanged line-up from last week for this week’s final,” McMillan said in a statement.

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“Being put under pressure over the last few weeks has given us real belief we can deal with whatever comes our way on the weekend.

“The Crusaders are clearly a quality side who will come here well prepared, with a lot of belief, and a legacy of turning up on the big stage. We respect that – there’s no point denying it, but we aren’t daunted by the task at hand either.”

This year’s Super Rugby Pacific final between the Chiefs and Crusaders is set to get underway at 7.05pm NZST on Saturday at Hamilton’s FMG Stadium.

Chiefs team to take on Crusaders

  1. Aidan Ross
  2. Samisoni Taukei’aho
  3. George Dyer
  4. Brodie Retallick
  5. Tupou Vaa’i
  6. Pita Gus Sowakula
  7. Sam Cane (cc)
  8. Luke Jacobson
  9. Brad Weber (cc)
  10. Damian McKenzie
  11. Etene Nanai-Seturo
  12. Anton Lienert-Brown
  13. Alex Nankivell
  14. Emoni Narawa
  15. Shaun Stevenson

Replacements:

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16. Tyrone Thompson

17. Ollie Norris

18. John Ryan

19. Naitoa Ah Kuoi

20 Samipeni Finau

21. Cortez Ratima

22. Josh Ioane

23. Rameka Poihipi

Players not considered due to injury: Angus Ta’avao, Quinn Tupaea, Xavier Roe, Bryn Gatland, Laghlan McWhannell, Lalomilo Lalomilo

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Comments

2 Comments
B
Barry 389 days ago

Congrats SAM on joining Liam on 150 SUPER GAMES ...Make Crusaders PAY !
😍

B
Barry 389 days ago

GOOD LUCK OUR ONLY OTHER SURVIVER!!! OUR HURRICANES ARE HOPING YOU CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE BY SHOWING THE COCKY CRUSADERS ARE NOW SECOND IN LINE BEFORE NEXT YEAR!!! 😎 😍 😎 🙃

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William 9 minutes ago
All Blacks vs England takeaways: Richie Who? Time for Cortez

Correct analysis of Perofeta’s bungling of the try opportunity Ben. Never ‘fixed’ Steward as he came across in defence and passed too early. Steward didn’t have to break his stride and simply moved on to pressure Telea. Never scanned the easier option of passing to the two supporting players on the inside. Beauden Barrett showed how it is done when he put Telea in for his try. Another point from the game is that the rush defence is hard to maintain as the number of phases increases. From scrums the defensive line only contains backs who all have roughly the same pace. Once forwards are involved, the defence has players with variable speeds often leading to a jagged line. It also tends to lose pace overall giving the attack more time and space. Beauden Barrett’s break to set up Telea’s try came because Baxter went in to tackle McKenzie and Steward went out to cover Telea. Barrett has a massive hole to run through, then commits Steward by passing as late as possible and Telea scores untouched. Another comment I would make is that Ben Earl is a good player and generally an excellent defender but he made three significant misses in the series, two of which led to All Black tries. Got stepped by Perofeta in Dunedin for Savea’s try, missed McKenzie in Auckland leading to what should have been a certain try being set up by Perofeta and was one of the tacklers who couldn’t stop Savea in the leadup to Telea’s first try. Perhaps he should contact Owen Farrell to pick up a few tips from ‘tackle school’.

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