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Chiefs new blockbusting No 8 retained for Hurricanes

By Ben Smith
Wallace Sititi of Chiefs reacts during the preseason match between Kubota Spears Funabashi-Tokyo Bay and Chiefs at Prince Chichibu Rugby Ground on February 10, 2024 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Toru Hanai/Getty Images)

After the impressive starting debut by Wallace Sititi against Moana Pasifika, the Chiefs have named the young No 8 to play again against the Hurricanes in this week’s blockbuster in Wellington.


The former Blues U20 captain starred last week with 94 running metres on 17 carries, including two line breaks. His powerful ball carrying was a handful for Moana Pasifika.

As a result of Sititi’s form, captain and regular No 8 Luke Jacobson has been shifted to openside to combat the strong Hurricanes back row. One cap All Black Samipeni Finau completes the trio at blindside.

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In other changes, dynamic halfback Cortez Ratima has been named to start alongside Damian McKenzie after showing a knack for tries, equal second in the competition with six on the year.


Last 5 Meetings

Average Points scored
First try wins
Home team wins

In the midfield Daniel Rona has taken a hold of the 13 jersey which means All Black Anton Lienert-Brown moves to second five-eighth.

Shaun Stevenson returns to fullback after a rest week, joining dangerous pair Etene Nanai-Seturo and Emoni Narawa at the back.

The Chiefs are looking to continue a winning run of five straight victories over the Hurricanes extending back to 2020 and stamp their credentials as title favourites by knocking off the undefeated Canes.


The match is lock Tupou Vaa’i’s 50th appearance for the club and the Chiefs will be hoping to celebrate in style.

Chiefs team to play Hurricanes:

1. Aidan Ross
2. Samisoni Taukei’aho
3. Reuben O’Neill
4. Naitoa Ah Kuoi
5. Tupou Vaa’i
6. Samipeni Finau
7. Luke Jacobson (c)
8. Wallace Sititi
9. Cortez Ratima
10. Damian McKenzie
11. Etene Nanai-Seturo
12. Anton Lienert-Brown
13. Daniel Rona
14. Emoni Narawa
15. Shaun Stevenson


16. Bradley Slater
17. Ollie Norris
18. George Dyer
19. Jimmy Tupou
20. Kaylum Boshier
21. Xavier Roe
22. Josh Ioane
23. Rameka Poihipi



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Jon 1 days ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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