A short-handed Chiefs side are prepared for a massive game in Durban against the Sharks this weekend. After a tough victory in Cape Town last weekend against a strong Stormers team the side will be looking to carry the momentum of the win into this weekend’s fixture.
Head Coach Colin Cooper is looking forward to the challenge the Sharks will bring in Durban.
“We are in our second week of this tough tour and we were very happy to beat the Stormers. We are looking forward to a great contest in Durban against the Sharks. It’s going to be another tough game for us, but we are really excited about the challenge ahead. The team has united really quickly and we are certainly looking forward to the challenge in the Shark Tank.”
There are seven changes to the team that took on the Stormers in Cape Town with Nathan, Brodie, Damian and Anton returning home to join up with the All Blacks. In the forwards, Liam Polwart starts at hooker for Harris, Tyler Ardron moves to lock in place of Retallick and the impressive Pita Gus Sowakula gets a start in the number eight jersey.
In the backs, Charlie Ngatai moves into centre for Lienert-Brown and Shaun Stevenson starts at fullback after making a cameo off the bench last weekend.
It’s also an exciting game for powerful prop Sosefo Kautai who is named on the bench for the first time this season after making four appearances in his debut campaign last year.
An outstanding milestone awaits Co-Captain Charlie Ngatai who will take the field for the 50th time in Chiefs colours. Ngatai is a fan favourite in Chiefs Country and Cooper emphasised how special it is to have a player of his calibre in the team.
“Charlie can play in a lot of positions because he’s a world class player. We are very lucky to have a player of that calibre and for him to play his fiftieth game is great for the team to unite behind him. I can’t speak highly enough of Charlie, I’ve been coaching with him for a long time and he’s a special man and a special player.”
The teams last met in 2016 at Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth. The game went down to the wire with the Gallagher Chiefs winning 24-22, and we could be in store for another tight encounter on the weekend.
1. Karl Tu’inukuafe, 2. Liam Polwart, 3. Angus Ta’avao, 4. Tyler Ardron, 5. Michael Allardice, 6. Luke Jacobson, 7. Liam Messam (C), 8. Pita Gus Sowakula, 9. Brad Weber, 10. Marty McKenzie, 11. Solomon Alaimalo, 12. Johnny Faauli, 13. Charlie Ngatai (C), 14. Sean Wainui, 15. Shaun Stevenson.
Reserves: 16. Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17. Sam Prattley, 18. Sosefo Kautai, 19. Jesse Parete, 20. Matt Matich, 21. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22. Luteru Laulala, 23. Toni Pulu
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