Rugby: Kahui starts for Chiefs

Chiefs centre Richard Kahui will start his first game in 10 months when taking on the Blues at Mt Maunganui on Saturday. Photo / Getty Images.
Chiefs centre Richard Kahui will start his first game in 10 months when taking on the Blues at Mt Maunganui on Saturday. Photo / Getty Images.

Chiefs centre Richard Kahui will start his first game in 10 months when taking on the Blues at Mt Maunganui on Saturday.

Kahui turned in an impressive 30-minute effort in the victory over the Highlanders in Hamilton last weekend and now gets his chance to wear the No13 jersey for the first time since walking off the field in agony with a shoulder injury against the Reds in Brisbane last year.

Brendon Leonard is back from a cheekbone injury and provides cover for halfback in the absence of Tawera Kerr-Barlow, who has a broken jaw. Augustine Pulu wears the No9 jersey.

Also starting after having a rest last weekend are prop Toby Smith, flanker Tanerau Latimer, No 8 Fritz Lee and second-five Bundee Aki. Their counterparts Ben Tameifuna, Sam Cane, Nick Crosswell and Andrew Horrell all drop the reserves bench.

Coach Dave Rennie has resisted the temptation to rest first-five Aaron Cruden for the Blues who come into the match following two defeats at the hands of the Bulls and Waratahs.

Gareth Anscombe remains at fullback.

Rennie said: "The Blues are a very good side. They obviously had impressive victories against other New Zealand franchises in their opening weeks and had a few arm wrestles that they could have won. We have a lot of respect for them and this will be a big occasion for both sides.''

The Chiefs team to play the Blues at Baypark Stadium, Mt Maunganui, kick-off 7.35pm, is: Gareth Anscombe, Lelia Masaga, Richard Kahui, Bundee Aki, Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Aaron Cruden, Augustine Pulu, Fritz Lee, Tanerau Latimer, Liam Messam (c), Brodie Retallick, Michael Fitzgerald, Ben Afeaki, Hika Elliot, Toby Smith. Reserves: Rhys Marshall, Ben Tameifuna, Nick Crosswell, Sam Cane, Brendon Leonard, Andrew Horrell, Patrick Osborne.

- APNZ

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