Despite being without a number of first-choice players, the Chiefs have pieced together a strong starting XV for their clash against the Sharks in Durban on Sunday morning.

After their win over the Stormers last week, All Blacks quartet Damian McKenzie, Brodie Retallick, Anton Lienert-Brown and Nathan Harris flew back to New Zealand to attend a North Island Camp this weekend.

For a side already facing issues with personnel due to injuries, the loss wasn't ideal. However, he return of Shaun Stevenson and the versatility of Charlie Ngatai has proved to be a big help in the backline, while Tyler Ardron has again proved to be a smart signing in the forwards.

The big Canadian will move back to lock to cover for Retallick this week after playing in the No.8 jersey last time out. Hard-running young forward Pita Gus Sowakula gets another chance to start at the back of the scrum as a result.


The backline shapes up as a formidable one despite the players unavailable to the team. Ngatai shifts from fullback to centre, with Stevenson donning the No.15 jumper. Marty McKenzie replaces his brother at first five-eighth, while Sean Wainui returns to the side after a week off in place of Toni Pulu on the wing.

Pulu remains with the squad and will look to impact the match from the bench.

While the starting side looks strong, there are a few unknowns on the bench. Loose forward Matt Matich will make his debut from the bench, while prop Sosefo Kautai will play his first match of the season after four caps in 2017.

"We are in our second week of this tough tour and we were very happy to beat the Stormers," head coach Colin Cooper said. "We are looking forward to a great contest in Durban against the Sharks. It's going to be another tough game for us, but we are really excited about the challenge ahead. The team has united really quickly and we are certainly looking forward to the challenge in the Shark Tank."

Chiefs: Shaun Stevenson, Sean Wainui, Charlie Ngatai (c), Johnny Fa'auli, Solomon Alaimalo, Marty McKenzie, Brad Weber, Pita Gus Sowakula, Liam Messam, Luke Jacobson, Michael Allardice, Tyler Ardron, Angus Ta'avao, Liam Polwart, Karl Tu'inukuafe. Reserves: Samisoni Taukei'aho, Sam Prattley, Sosefo Kautai, Jesse Parete, Matt Matich, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Luteru Laulala, Toni Pulu.