Super Rugby Aotearoa: Aaron Cruden demoted to bench as Chiefs name side to face Highlanders
Chiefs head coach Warren Gatland has made a raft of changes to his twenty-three for his side’s clash against the Highlanders on Sunday.
With lock Naitoa Ah Kuoi side-lined with concussion, Tupou Vaa’i shifts into the starting XV combining with Mitchell Brown.
In the reserves, an abundance of experience is featured. Samisoni Taukei’aho, Reuben O’Neill and Ross Geldenhuys round off a powerful replacement front row.
Gatland said the Gallagher Chiefs were refreshed from their break and were eager to return to Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa at home.
“The team have had an enjoyable break and have returned refreshed and hungry to earn a win this Sunday. We have enjoyed been out and about in the community this week, the team have been fundraising for our community partner Variety – The Children’s Charity for their Warm Hearts Winter Appeal in a number of the malls in Hamilton and we have had the pleasure of our members attending training.”
Gatland said Sunday afternoon’s game will be a challenging encounter for fans to watch.
“It was a tightly contested battle when we faced the Highlanders in the first Super Rugby Aotearoa match in Dunedin. They have a number of threats across the park, they can attack, defend and have been known to have an accurate kicker in the pocket.
“We need to be prepared to defend that and bide our time when we are given the opportunity. We then need to apply pressure, force a turnover, attack and execute accordingly.
“This Sunday is about us starting better and continuing to finish strongly so we secure a win at home that our fans deserve to see.”
1. Aidan Ross (35)
2. Bradley Slater (11)
3. Nepo Laulala (37)
4. Tupou Vaa’i (3)
5. Mitchell Brown (41)
6. Lachlan Boshier (53)
7. Sam Cane (118) ©
8. Pita Gus Sowakula (24)
9. Brad Weber (81)
10. Kaleb Trask (5)
11. Solomon Alaimalo (45)
12. Alex Nankivell (28)
13. Anton Lienert-Brown (77)
14. Sean Wainui (34)
15. Damian McKenzie (80)
16. Samisoni Taukei’aho (32)
17. Reuben O’Neill (7)
18. Ross Geldenhuys (9)
19. Adam Thomson (3)
20. Mitchell Karpik (26)
21. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (37)
22. Aaron Cruden (98)
23. Quinn Tupaea (8)
– Chiefs Rugby
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