The Chiefs are preparing for an almighty backlash from a Hurricanes side that arrives in Hamilton stung and hurting.

Expecting a colossus physical confrontation for the full 80-minutes, the Chiefs will be relieved that both Sam Cane and Aaron Cruden made it through some minor niggles (calf haematoma and tightened hamstring) that were of concern following the win over the Waratahs.

The Hurricanes are expected to come out firing after putting on one of their worst performances against Kiwi opposition in recent memory, and it's something that Chiefs halfback Brad Weber says the team must be ready to counter.

"We know when we ourselves come off a loss, we come out firing, no doubt they'll be doing the same so we really need to flick the switch come kick-off time," Weber said.


Head coach Warren Gatland has named a squad with two changes from the win over the Waratahs in Sydney, both due to injury.

In the locking department, Mitch Brown comes into start after Canadian standout Tyler Ardron came down with an infection this week. In the backline, Sean Wainui has an ankle injury, forcing a shift to combinations, Solomon Alaimalo going into left wing while Shaun Stevenson slots into the right.

Damian McKenzie also returns to action after his rest week, and Atu Moli is also back from injury to come off the bench.

It's an important fixture for the Chiefs who want to keep momentum alive but also make amends for the last time they played in front of their home fans.

A win would see them remain at the pointy end of the New Zealand conference and overall ladder, but a loss could see Gatland's men drop to third in their conference, sitting behind the Crusaders and Blues, should they both win their respective games, heading into two matches on the trot in South Africa.

Weber says that whilst the Chiefs always strive to win all their games, winning the intense New Zealand-derby matches almost feels like getting double points.

"We are trying to win everything, especially against New Zealand conference teams because it's almost worth double points and we know how important positioning is on the table down towards the latter end of the competition".

Michael Pulman is a freelance journalist based in Hamilton


The Chiefs squad to play the Hurricanes

1. Aidan Ross
2. Samisoni Taukeiaho 3. Ross Geldenhuys
4. Michael Allardice
5. Mitchell Brown
6. Lachlan Boshier
7. Sam Cane
8. Pita Gus Sowakula
9. Brad Weber
10. Aaron Cruden
11. Solomon Alaimalo
12. Anton Lienert-Brown
13. Tumua Manu
14. Shaun Stevenson
15. Damian McKenzie
16. Bradley Slater
17. Atu Moli
18. Reuben O'Neill
19. Naitoa Ah Kuoi
20. Mitchell Karpik
21. Lisati Milo-Harris
22. Kaleb Trask
23. Alex Nankivell

• Gallagher Chiefs vs Hurricanes, Friday March 13, 7.05pm at FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton
Gates Open: 4.15pm

• Curtain raisers: Chiefs Development vs Hurricanes Hunters, FMG Stadium Waikato, Friday March 13, 4.25pm.

Tickets: or from the ticketing office on Friday at Gate 1 at FMG Stadium Waikato. To celebrate 25 years, a special $25 ticket bundle is on offer for an adult and child ticket in the family uncovered or goal line zones.