Marty McKenzie will have the first shot at filling Aaron Cruden's boots, being named at first five for the Chiefs' encounter with the Western Force on Friday night.

With Cruden on Monday ruled out for the season with a knee injury, Chiefs coach Dave Rennie had a number of options to try at No10.

And Taranaki pivot McKenzie has earned the opening chance, beating out competition from younger brother Damian and Andrew Horrell, who impressed after replacing Cruden against the Crusaders.

The injured All Black is not the only senior man missing from the Chiefs team. Captain Liam Messam will be absent due to the agreed All Blacks rest requirements, replaced by Johan Bardoul at blindside flanker with Matt Symons assuming the captaincy.

Advertisement

James Lowe was ruled out after suffering a contusion on his shoulder during the Crusaders match, seeing Tim Nanai-Williams moving to the left wing and Bryce Heem coming into the team on the right.

Prop Siate Tokolahi gets a start in the front row, with Ben Tameifuna moving to the bench, bringing to five the total changes from last week's Crusaders victory.

"You look at it a few ways," Rennie said of his selection to face the last-placed Force. "We're looking at picking a side that we believe will beat the Force but sometimes you've got to bring a bit of edge

"The guys who played last weekend, obviously you get up for those Crusaders games, they're big challenges. We've got other guys who want to come in and make a bit of a statement to say they're still here and ready to go."

Chiefs team to play the Western Force on Friday night:

1. Mitchell Graham
2. Hika Elliot
3. Siate Tokolahi
4. Matt Symons (c)
5. Brodie Retallick
6. Johan Bardoul
7. Sam Cane
8. Michael Leitch
9. Brad Weber
10. Marty McKenzie
11. Tim Nanai-Williams
12. Sonny Bill Williams
13. Charlie Ngatai
14. Bryce Heem
15. Tom Marshall

Reserves:
16. Quentin MacDonald
17. Pauliasi Manu
18. Ben Tameifuna
19. Michael Fitzgerald
20. Liam Squire
21. Augustine Pulu
22. Damian McKenzie
23. Andrew Horrell