Rugby: Leitch headlines returning Chiefs trio

Michael Leitch will return to bolster the Chiefs' bench against the Hurricanes. Photo / Sportpix
Michael Leitch will return to bolster the Chiefs' bench against the Hurricanes. Photo / Sportpix

The reinforcements have arrived at the perfect time for the Chiefs, with Sam Cane, Seta Tamanivalu and Michael Leitch all set to feature in Saturday's semifinal against the Hurricanes.

Cane and Tamanivalu have been confirmed in the run-on XV after being under injury clouds earlier in the week, while Leitch will return from the bench after two months on the sidelines.

The No 8 broke his thumb in May and was always aiming to be back late in the playoffs, providing his team progressed that far. The veteran will still need to recover well from today's exertions at training but he is set to add both quality and experience to a youthful loose forward group.

"He took full part in training and seemed to come through OK, but we have to see how he bounces back tomorrow morning," said coach Dave Rennie. "Obviously he's very experienced and it's great to have him back as an option.

"He has a massive workrate. He's fairly big physically, so he's good over the ball and he's a big defensive player. And he's pretty quick. Hopefully that's a point of difference coming off the bench."

Cane, meanwhile, was disappointed to have been withdrawn at halftime in the Chiefs' big quarter-final victory over the Stormers last weekend but, having passed concussion protocols, the co-captain will set up an intriguing personal battle against Ardie Savea.

And Tamanivalu rounds out the returning trio, having missed the trip to Cape Town with a knee injury. The centre will again link with Anton Lienert-Brown in the midfield, one of only two changes to team who romped to a record win.

The other comes at halfback where Tawera Kerr-Barlow has been preferred to Brad Weber, potentially in a nod to the former's defensive prowess in a match-up with TJ Perenara.

Chiefs team to play Hurricanes at Westpac Stadium on Saturday night:

Damian McKenzie, Sam McNicol, Seta Tamanivalu, Anton Lienert-Brown, James Lowe, Aaron Cruden (c), Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Tom Sanders, Sam Cane (c), Taleni Seu, Brodie Retallick, Dominic Bird, Atu Moli, Nathan Harris, Kane Hames.

Reserves: Hika Elliot, Siegfried Fisi'ihoi, Mitchell Graham, Lachlan Boshier, Michael Leitch, Brad Weber, Toni Pulu, Shaun Stevenson.ry clouds earlier in the week

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW
Stats provided by

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 26 Sep 2016 03:25:30 Processing Time: 729ms