A largely new look forward pack will front for the Gallagher Chiefs when they take on the Southern Kings this Saturday in Port Elizabeth. Head coach Dave Rennie has made numerous changes to the team that narrowly lost 36-32 to the Lions last Saturday at FMG Stadium Waikato. The game kicks off at 3pm local time, which is 2am on Sunday the 12th March in New Zealand for those dedicated supporters wanting to catch the game live on SKY Sport.
The revamped front row sees Mitchell Graham, Nathan Harris and Siate Tokolahi pack down for their first starts of the season. In the second row, Johan Bardoul partners with Michael Allardice. Bardoul replaces the injured Brodie Retallick who is sidelined for 4-6 weeks after sustaining broken ribs against the Lions last week. Taleni Seu, Sam Cane and Michael Leitch form the loose forward trio adding plenty of power and agility to the back of the scrum.
In the backs, Brad Weber gets his first start of the 2016 Investec Super Rugby season at halfback. Co-captain Aaron Cruden retains the number 10 jersey, with Charlie Ngatai and Seta Tamanivalu continuing their dominant partnership in the mid-field for the third successive week. Glen Fisiiahi impressed in his debut to earn his first start on the right wing, with James Lowe and Damian McKenzie rounding out the backline in jerseys 11 and 15 respectively.
The strong reserve bench packs a punch with Rhys Marshall, Pauliasi Manu and 2015 gold medal winning New Zealand Under-20 captain Atu Moli on hand as front row replacements. They are joined on the bench by fellow forwards James Tucker and Maama Vaipulu. Replacement halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow offers plenty of experience, with Anton Lienert-Brown and Sam McNicol ready to add impact to the backline off the bench. Should Atu Moli and James Tucker take the field, they will be making their Investec Super Rugby debuts while Sam McNicol is in line to earn his first cap for the Gallagher Chiefs.
The Gallagher Chiefs team to play the Southern Kings is:
1. Mitchell Graham (13) 2. Nathan Harris (14) 3. Siate Tokolahi (19) 4. Michael Allardice (9) 5. Johan Bardoul (9) 6. Taleni Seu (2) 7. Sam Cane (67) co-captain 8. Michael Leitch (14) 9. Brad Weber (26) 10. Aaron Cruden (58) co-captain 11. James Lowe (23) 12. Charlie Ngatai (33) 13. Seta Tamanivalu (8) 14. Glen Fisiiahi (1) 15. Damian McKenzie (18)
16. Rhys Marshall (24) 17. Pauliasi Manu (47) 18. Atu Moli– 19. James Tucker– 20. Maama Vaipulu (12) 21. Tawera Kerr-Barlow (58) 22. Anton Lienert-Brown (11) 23. Sam McNicol-
( ) = Gallagher Chiefs caps in brackets -denotes Gallagher Chiefs debut –denotes Investec Super Rugby debutant
Not considered for selection:
Nepo Laulala, Mitchell Karpik, Andrew Horrell, Hika Elliot, Toni Pulu, Augustine Pulu, Dominic Bird, Shaun Stevenson, Brodie Retallick and Tevita Koloamatangi.
Following Saturdays match against the Kings in Port Elizabeth, the Gallagher Chiefs head straight to Argentina to prepare for their round four game against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires.
The Gallagher Chiefs are back in action at FMG Stadium Waikato against the Western Force on Saturday the 26th of March. The Easter Saturday match promises to deliver on family fun with free kids packs and hot chips for all children in attendance. Tickets are available for this 7:35pm match between the Gallagher Chiefs and Western Force from Stirling Sports, ticketdirect.co.nz or 0800 4 CHIEFS. Prices start from as little as $20 for adults and $10 for kids.
Article source: http://www.voxy.co.nz/sport/5/246046