Rugby: Rennie picks settled side for Lions encounter

The Chiefs made minimal changes from the side who pipped the Crusaders. Photo / Getty
The Chiefs made minimal changes from the side who pipped the Crusaders. Photo / Getty

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie has largely retained last weekend's successful squad ahead of Saturday afternoon's clash with the Lions at FMG Stadium.

Fresh off a confidence-building 27-21 win over the Crusaders in Christchurch, the Chiefs have trusted the same group of players as they seek to go two-from-two.

Ahead of a challenging two-week international jaunt, with the Chiefs travelling to Port Elizabeth to play the Kings then onto Buenos Aires to take on newcomers the Jaguares, Rennie's men will be desperate for a home victory.

The coach has made two changes to the starting XV who defeated the Crusaders in round one. In the forwards, Maama Vaipulu gets the start at No 8, with Tom Sanders moving to blindside flanker. And in the backs, Latu Vaeno gets his first start on the right wing, with Shaun Stevenson forced to sit out the game due to a minor shoulder complaint.

In the reserves, Japan captain Michael Leitch is expected to make his return to Super Rugby, while former Warrior Glen Fisiiahi looks set to earn his first Super Rugby cap from the bench.

"This is a big game for us," Rennie said. "We play the Curry Cup Champions, a side who were unlucky not to make the Super Rugby playoffs last year.

"While we were happy with the attitude and effort against the Crusaders, we know we can be more clinical and have learnt a lot about ourselves. It's nice to get a bit of continuity from a selection point of view for our first outing at home."

Chiefs team to play the Lions at FMG Stadium:

1. Pauliasi Manu
2. Rhys Marshall
3. Hiroshi Yamashita
4. Michael Allardice
5. Brodie Retallick
6. Tom Sanders
7. Sam Cane (c)
8. Maama Vaipulu
9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow
10. Aaron Cruden (c)
11. James Lowe
12. Charlie Ngatai
13. Seta Tamanivalu
14. Latu Vaeno
15. Damian McKenzie

Reserves:
16. Nathan Harris
17. Mitchell Graham
18. Siate Tokolahi
19. Taleni Seu
20. Michael Leitch
21. Brad Weber
22. Anton Lienert-Brown
23. Glen Fisiiahi

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