Star players return for Chiefs’ quarter-final with Reds
The Chiefs were sensational throughout the regular season, and almost went undefeated. But they fell to the Queensland Reds in a thriller last month.
While the sole defeat is a minor blip on an otherwise sensational campaign, the Chiefs will look to avenge that defeat in this weekend’s quarter-final.
The minor premiers will host their trans-Tasman rivals in a quasi-rematch of sorts – although more accurately, it’s a straight shootout for a chance to progress to the final four.
Following their big win over the Western Force in Perth – which saw the Chiefs rest a number of frontline stars – coach Clayton McMillan has named a familiar looking line-up this week.
Rameka Poihipi moves from flyhalf to inside centre, and will run out alongside Anton Lienert-Brown in the midfield.
The two wingers this week are the electrifying duo of Etene Nanai-Seturo and Emoni Narawa.
“We look forward to hosting the Reds and playing in front of our passionate supporters in what should be a cracking game at FMG Stadium Waikato,” coach Clayton McMillan said in a statement.
“They were deserved winners in our last encounter where their tactical kicking game, ability to build high phase counts and greater desperation proved to be the difference.
“Notwithstanding the challenge the Reds bring, we have focused on ourselves this week and named a largely settled side.
“Having returned from Perth and navigating a shorter training week, we have removed a lot of clutter, understanding our players are at their best when they are clear on their roles and can play with freedom.”
Alex Nankivell and Tupou Vaa’i have both been ruled out of this blockbuster quarter-final due to injuries.
The match is set to get underway at 4.35pm NZST at Hamilton’s FMG Stadium on Saturday.
Chiefs team to take on Reds
- Aidan Ross
- Samisoni Taukai’aho
- John Ryan
- Brodie Retallick
- Josh Lord
- Samipeni Finau
- Sam Cane (cc)
- Luke Jacobson
- Brad Weber (cc)
- Damian McKenzie
- Etene Nanai-Seturo
- Rameka Poihipi
- Anton Lienert-Brown
- Emoni Narawa
- Shaun Stevenson
- Bradley Slater
- Ollie Norris
- George Dyer
- Naitoa Ah Kuoi
- Pita Gus Sowakula
- Cortez Ratima
- Josh Ioane
- Daniel Rona
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