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Chiefs name strong pack for Blues while Gatland back in starting side

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Bryn Gatland. (Photo by Jeremy Ward/Photosport)

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The Gallagher Chiefs have named their side to run out in front of a home crowd to face the Blues in a much-anticipated rivalry match. The Saturday fixture will kick off at 7.05pm at FMG Stadium Waikato.

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Only one change has been made to the starting forward pack that defeated the Hurricanes at Sky Stadium last Sunday. All Black lock Josh Lord will start in the number 4 jersey in an otherwise unchanged starting forward pack.

Changes to the starting backline feature Bryn Gatland starting at first five-eighth after coming off the bench last week. Alex Nankivell shifts back to the mid-field at second five-eighth, starting in his 50th match for the Gallagher Chiefs.

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In the back three, Emoni Narawa moves from fullback to the right wing, with Kaleb Trask returning from an injury niggle to start in the number 15 jersey.

Changes in the bench see Bradley Slater return in jersey number 16 as hooker cover for Samisoni Taukei’aho. In-form prop Ollie Norris also returns to make an impact from the bench. Samipeni Finau has been named in jersey 19 who can provide cover in the loose forwards or locks, while Quinn Tupaea is the only other change in the reserves from the bench that faced the Hurricanes.

Gallagher Chiefs Head Coach Clayton McMillan is focused on delivering an 80 minute performance against the visiting rivals.

“I’ve mentioned a lot that when you play New Zealand teams, you expect the margins to be slim and we are preparing for nothing less against the Blues.

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“They are an abrasive team who relish opportunities to assert their physicality on teams. We let ourselves and loyal supporters down in this regard when playing the Crusaders at home a few weeks back, so a sharp response is required if we want to measure up against a quality Blues outfit.

“It should be an epic encounter and we hope our fans will be eager to come and support us at FMG Stadium Waikato”. said McMillan.

McMillan finished with congratulating Nankivell on his impending milestone.

“Alex is a passionate, competitive and loyal team member who thoroughly deserves the milestone of reaching 50 matches in a Chiefs jersey. His form has been outstanding this year where he has given absolutely everything of himself. We will be doing everything we can to make this a memorable occasion for Alex and his family.” finished McMillan.

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Gallagher Chiefs v Blues tickets are available now from chiefs.flicket.co.nz from $8 kids and $16 for adults (excluding booking/card fees).

Gallagher Chiefs to face the Blues:

1. Aidan Ross
2. Samisoni Taukei’aho
3. Angus Ta’avao
4. Josh Lord
5. Naitoa Ah Kuoi
6. Kaylum Boshier
7. Sam Cane (cc)
8. Pita Gus Sowakula
9. Brad Weber (cc)
10. Bryn Gatland
11. Etene Nanai-Seturo
12. Alex Nankivell
13. Anton Lienert-Brown
14. Emoni Narawa
15. Kaleb Trask

Reserves:

16. Bradley Slater
17. Ollie Norris
18. George Dyer
19. Samipeni Finau
20. Luke Jacobson
21. Cortez Ratima
22. Quinn Tupaea
23. Chase Tiatia

Unavailable for selection:

Reuben O’Neill, Gideon Wrampling, Simon Parker, Xavier Roe, Brodie Retallick, Josh Ioane, Sione Mafileo, Laghlan McWhannell, Tupou Vaa’i

-Chiefs/Press Release

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