Chiefs hooker Nathan Harris will continue his long-awaited return from injury on Saturday after being named on the bench for the franchise’s development side to face the Blues Development in Hamilton.

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The match, which acts as a curtain-raiser to the Super Rugby Aotearoa clash between the Chiefs and Blues and FMG Stadium Waikato, will give Harris valuable game time as he looks to bounce back from a horror run of injuries that has prevented him from playing for almost 18 months.

The 29-year-old has been sidelined since September 2019 after fracturing his ankle while playing for Bay of Plenty in the Mitre 10 Cup, and was subsequently ruled out of the 2020 Super Rugby season after he was advised to undergo surgery to repair his rotator cuff.

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At the time, Harris was expected to be available for last year’s provincial campaign, but the 20-test All Black never featured for Bay of Plenty as they succumbed to a semi-final defeat in the Mitre 10 Cup Premiership.

It wasn’t until this year’s Super Rugby pre-season when Harris finally took to the field again as he started from the bench in both of the Chiefs’ clashes against the Blues and Crusaders in a game-of-three-halves fixture in Cambridge last month.

While he is yet to take to the field for the club’s senior team this season, Harris’ inclusion in the Chiefs Development’s bench is an indication that he may not be too far off from Super Rugby Aotearoa action.

Harris is one of seven members of the full Chiefs squad who have been named to play in the development team’s match against their Blues counterparts this weekend.

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Young No 8 Kaylum Boshier will pack down at the back of the scrum, while the backline features the likes of halfback Xavier Roe, first-five Bryn Gatland, midfielder Rameka Poihipi, wing Jonah Lowe and fullback Rivez Reihana.

Other notable names in the match day side include capped Tongan flanker Zane Kapeli, former Blues prop Ezekiel Lindenmuth, recent Chiefs debutant Joe Apikatoa, ex-Chiefs halfback Lisati Milo-Harris and Manu Samoa loose forward Alamanda Motuga.

Kick-off between the one-off fixture is scheduled for 4:25pm on Saturday NZT.

Chiefs Development to face Blues Development

1. Ezekiel Lindenmuth
2. Sekope Lopeti Moli
3. Joe Apikatoa
4. Stan van den Hoven
5. Hamilton Burr
6. Viliami Taulani
7. Zane Kapeli
8. Kaylum Boshier
9. Xavier Roe
10. Bryn Gatland
11. Mathew Skipwith-Garland
12. Rameka Poihipi
13. Gideon Wrampling
14. Jonah Lowe
15. Rivez Reihana

Reserves:

16. Nathan Harris
17. Benet Kumeroa
18. George Dyer
19. Sam Slade
20. Alamanda Motuga
21. Lisati Milo-Harris
22. Amanaki Sevieti
23. Taniela Filimone

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