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Some ‘obvious absentees’ in Chiefs’ team to take on Brumbies

By Finn Morton
The aggressive Reds rush defence - led by halfback Tate McDermott - stymied the Chiefs' attacking prowess. (Photo by Andy Jackson/Getty Images)

All Blacks Tupou Vaa’i and Anton Lienert-Brown will miss the Chiefs’ match against the Brumbies on Saturday, and fullback Shaun Stevenson has been relegated to the bench.

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Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan has named a relatively unchanged side for his blockbuster trans-Tasman derby in Canberra, but there are some “obvious absentees.”

Vaa’i is being rested as per the All Blacks’ mandatory policy, which gives 24-year-old Laghlan McWhannell the chance to start alongside veteran Brodie Retallick.

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As for the rest of the forward pack, Aidan Ross, Samisoni Taukei’aho and George Dyer make up the front row trio for the Chiefs.

The Chiefs have named a familiar looking loose forward combination with All Blacks Pita Gus Sowakula, Sam Cane and Luke Jacobson set to pack down in the back row.

Co-captain Brad Weber will combine with Josh Ioane in the halves, while Damian McKenzie shifts from flyhalf to fullback.

Rameka Poihipi returns to the run-on side, and will link up with the reliable Alex Nankivell in the midfield.

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Former All Blacks Sevens star Etene Nani-Seturo has retained his spot on the left wing, while Emoni Narawa will line up on the right.

“It’s an important game for us against the Brumbies,” coach Clayton McMillan said in a statement.

“They gave us a real lesson last year and are particularly tough at home in Canberra where their tactical kicking game and maul are real weapons.

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“We have selected a largely stable team, with Tupou Vaa’i and Anton Lienert-Brown the obvious absentees as they sit out their last All Blacks rest weeks.

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“The team has had an excellent week of preparation and is excited about the opportunity of being on the road, building our connection as a group and finding growth in our game.”

The highly anticipated blockbuster between the Brumbies and Chiefs is set to get underway at 9.35pm NZST on Saturday at Canberra’s GIO Stadium.

Chiefs team to take on Brumbies

  1. Aidan Ross
  2. Samisoni Taukei’aho
  3. George Dyer
  4. Brodie Retallick
  5. Laghlan McWhannell
  6. Pita Gus Sowakula
  7. Sam Cane (cc)
  8. Luke Jacobson
  9. Brad Weber (cc)
  10. Josh Ioane
  11. Etene Nanai-Seturo
  12. Rameka Poihipi
  13. Alex Nankivell
  14. Emoni Narawa
  15. Damian McKenzie

Replacements:

  1. Bradley Slater
  2. Ollie Norris
  3. John Ryan
  4. Naitoa Ah Kuoi
  5. Samipeni Finau
  6. Cortez Ratima
  7. Daniel Rona
  8. Shaun Stevenson

Players not considered due to injury: Angus Ta’avao, Quinn Tupaea, Xavier Roe, Bryn Gatland, Josh Lord, Gideon Wrampling, Ngatungane Punivai, Kaylum Boshier

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