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Damian McKenzie to reach Chiefs milestone against Waratahs

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Michael Bradley/Getty Images)

Playmaker Damian McKenzie will play his 100th match in Chiefs colours on Friday night when they take on the NSW Waratahs at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium.

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Since making his debut for the Chiefs in 2015, McKenzie has scored more than 800 points for the decorated Hamilton-based franchise.

The 40-Test All Black will become the ninth player to reach 100 appearances for the Chiefs in Round Five, having been named to start at fullback.

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Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan congratulated McKenzie on achieving this milestone, saying he now sits “alongside some of the legends of our game.”

“Damian returned from his time away in Japan and has slotted back into the Gallagher Chiefs seamlessly,” McMillan said in a statement.

“He is an outstanding footballer who has an unbelievable skill-set, reads the game well, and is incredibly brave (on) both sides of the ball.

“Of the field he is an excellent contributor, loved by staff, his peers and our loyal fanbase.

“We all congratulate him on becoming the latest Gallagher Chief to play 100 games, and sit alongside some of the legends of our game who have achieved this significant milestone.”

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The Chiefs will be boosted by the return of co-captains Sam Cane and Brad Weber, who were both omitted from last weekends team to play the Rebels.

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All Blacks centurion Brodie Retallick has also been named for his return, and will pack down in the second row alongside Manaaki Selby-Rickit.

Internationals Aidan Ross and John Ryan will start in the front row for the Chiefs alongside Bradley Slater, who comes into the starting side for the first time.

Samipeni Finau and Pita Gus Sowakula have both retained their places in the starting XV, and will line-up alongside co-captain Sam Cane in the backrow.

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The inclusion of Weber and McKenzie are the only changes to the backline.

All Samisoni Taukei’aho will look to provide some impact off the bench again this week, while the high-flying Shaun Stevenson has been named in the No. 23 jumper.

The match kicks off at 9:35pm NZT on Friday.

Chiefs team to take on Waratahs

  1. Aidan Ross
  2. Bradley Slater
  3. John Ryan
  4. Brodie Retallick
  5. Manaaki Selby-Rickit
  6. Samipeni Finau
  7. Sam Cane (cc)
  8. Pita Gus Sowakula
  9. Brad Weber (cc)
  10. Bryn Gatland
  11. Etene Nanai-Seturo
  12. Rameka Poihipi
  13. Alex Nankivell
  14. Emoni Narawa
  15. Damian McKenzie

Replacements:

  1. Samisoni Taukei’aho
  2. Ollie Norris
  3. George Dyer
  4. Naitoa Ah Kuoi
  5. Kaylum Boshier
  6. Cortez Ratima
  7. Daniel Rona
  8. Shaun Stevenson

Players not considered: Angus Ta’avao, Atu Moli, Josh Lord, Quinn Tupaea, Anton Lienert-Brown, Tupou Vaa’i, Laghlan McWhannell

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