Rugby: Chiefs without Clarke and Latimer

Co-captain Craig Clarke has a minor neck injury and has been replaced by Michael Fitzgerald. Photo / Getty Images.
Co-captain Craig Clarke has a minor neck injury and has been replaced by Michael Fitzgerald. Photo / Getty Images.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie will be without Tanerau Latimer and Craig Clarke when his side meet the Blues in Albany on Saturday night.

Flanker Sam Cane, fresh off the All Blacks wider training group camp gets a start due to Latimer's patellar tendonitis, while co-captain Clarke has a minor neck injury and has been replaced by Michael Fitzgerald.

With four fit props to choose from, Rennie has selected Chiefs top-try scorer Sona Taumalolo and Ben Afeaki along with newly re-signed hooker Mahonri Schwalger as his starting front row, with prop Ben Tameifuna on the bench.

Maritino Nemani swaps places in the No 14 jersey with Lelia Masaga who moves to the reserves, while lock Romana Graham gets his first call up for the season on the bench where he will be joined by loose forward Scott Waldrom and hooker Hika Elliot.

"The Blues are getting players back and are on the improve," Rennie said.

"Games where the Chiefs play the Blues always have test match intensity and that's what we're preparing for."

The table-topping Chiefs will be looking to keep pace at the pointy end of the table, while the Blues have only won two from 13 this season and will be keen to avoid another loss.

Chiefs: Andrew Horrell, Maritino Nemani, Jackson Willison, Sonny Bill Williams, Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Aaron Cruden, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Kane Thompson, Sam Cane, Liam Messam, Brodie Retallick, Michael Fitzgerald, Ben Afeaki, Mahonri Schwalger, Sona Taumalolo. Reserves: Hika Elliot, Ben Tameifuna, Romana Graham, Scott Waldrom, Brendon Leonard, Robbie Robinson, Lelia Masaga

- APNZ

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