Chiefs named to face Highlanders

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Taleni Seu in action for the Chiefs v Sharks in New Plymough. PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES
Taleni Seu in action for the Chiefs v Sharks in New Plymough. PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

Tickets are flying out the door to the biggest event on the New Zealand rugby calendar this weekend.

A capacity crowd is expected to pack into FMG Stadium Waikato on Saturday as the Gallagher Chiefs battle it out against the Pulse Energy Highlanders in their fifth home game of the Investec Super Rugby season.

Gallagher Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie has named a potent line-up to take on last year's Super Rugby Champions.

There are just two changes to the starting fifteen that secured a 24-22 win over the Sharks in New Plymouth last Friday, with dynamic winger James Lowe and influential second five-eighth Charlie Ngatai returning from injury to start against the Highlanders.

There are further changes in the reserves with Michael Allardice and Maama Vaipulu recovering from injury to re-join the 23. Counties Manukau utility back Sam Vaka is poised to make his Investec Super Rugby debut off the bench. The agile 23-year-old adds an exciting edge to the reserves having previously played for the All Blacks Sevens team.

Head coach Dave Rennie says "we've been working hard this week to prepare for a massive challenge on Saturday night".

"The Highlanders are very similar to us, they've got a group of guys who work hard for each other. With game-breakers across the park, they are the type of team that will sting you if you kick poorly or turn the ball over. It'll be a hell of a spectacle with two very positive Kiwi teams on display."

Tickets are available from Stirling Sports, 0800 4 CHIEFS, or from 9am at Gate 1 of FMG Stadium Waikato on Game Day.

The Gallagher Chiefs team to play the Pulse Energy Highlanders is:

1. Mitchell Graham (20)
2. Hika Elliot (95)
3. Hiroshi Yamashita (4)
4. Dominic Bird (2)
5. Brodie Retallick (64)
6. Taleni Seu (9)
7. Sam Cane (74) co-captain
8. Michael Leitch (21)
9. Brad Weber (33)
10. Aaron Cruden (65) co-captain
11. James Lowe (28)
12. Charlie Ngatai (38)
13. Seta Tamanivalu (15)
14. Toni Pulu (4)
15. Damian McKenzie (25)


16. Nathan Harris (15)
17. Siate Tokolahi (26)
18. Kane Hames (1)
19. Michael Allardice (14)
20. Maama Vaipulu (18)
21. Kayne Hammington (3)
22. Anton Lienert-Brown (15)
23. Sam Vaka**

( ) = Gallagher Chiefs caps in brackets
**denotes Investec Super Rugby debut

Not considered for selection: Nepo Laulala, Mitchell Karpik, Augustine Pulu, Johan Bardoul, Pauliasi Manu, Sam Henwood, Tevita Koloamatangi, Tom Sanders, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Atu Moli, Glen Fisiiahi, Sam McNicol and Latu Vaeno.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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