With Damian McKenzie unavailable for the Chiefs this week, it's no surprise to see his older brother Marty take up residency in the No10 jersey.

A tested commodity at provincial level for Taranaki, the 25-year-old McKenzie will slot in at first five-eighth for the Chiefs' clash against the Hurricanes tonight making just his third start of the year.

While his time on the paddock at Super Rugby level this season has been limited, he's given coach Colin Cooper every reason to trust him in the role.

McKenzie joined Cooper in Taranaki in 2014 where he jumped right into the No10 jersey.


In his first year with the team, he led them to the provincial title. Having also spent time in the Māori All Blacks system when Cooper was the coach, McKenzie has proved his ability to manage the game.

"If the coach has got the belief in you to put you out there and perform, that's a big positive," McKenzie said.

"I've been waiting for another opportunity to start since the Sharks game and obviously Damian having a rest week this week there's obviously a chance for someone to step into the 10's shoes."

Unlike his brother, McKenzie is unlikely to offer the flashy, off-the-cuff running style of play; instead offering a more traditional styled No10 in the middle of the park. It's a key difference between the two, and one McKenzie said he had been helping his younger brother get better at throughout the season.

Damian, in his first year as the Chiefs first-choice No10, has shown real improvement in his ability to read a game and act accordingly. The Chiefs have benefited from his strong attacking play throughout the year, and McKenzie said it was no surprise to see his brother flourish in the role.

"He's picked it up pretty quickly to be fair, he's pretty naturally gifted at what he does."

It's an interesting matchup for McKenzie and the Chiefs this weekend, as they look more than likely to meet the Hurricanes two weeks in a row. The sides should finish the regular season ranked fourth and fifth in the standings, and will meet again in the opening round of the playoffs.

A 23-point win for the Chiefs on Friday night gives them the opportunity to host the quarter-final at home, while the Hurricanes need only a bonus point to keep their claim to home field advantage next weekend.