The Chiefs have named a shock lineup for their Super Rugby opener against the Highlanders on Friday.

21-year-old midfielder Orbyn Leger will make his debut at No10 in place of injured All Black Damian McKenzie.

Leger, a Counties Manukau player who wasn't even named in the initial Chiefs squad of 29, will play out of position in the biggest surprise in the squad which includes three other debutants.

All Blacks Sevens star Etene Nanai-Seturo, Auckland centre Tumua Manu and Tongan-born Japan international winger Ataata Moeakiola will join Leger as the other debutants on Friday.

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Leger, who played for the Blues last season, would have been behind Damian McKenzie, Marty McKenzie, Tiaan Falcon and Jack Debreczeni as the Chiefs' first-five options, but with injuries ravaging their squad, Leger got the nod, with the returning Stephen Donald named on the bench.

Damian McKenzie would have been the first choice, but was a late scratch due to an ankle knock, his brother Marty will also miss the start of the season with a hip injury, Falcon is out for the season with an Achilles injury, and Debreczeni has an abdominal strain.

An otherwise vastly experienced line-up includes returning All Blacks Nathan Harris, Brodie Retallick, Anton Leinert-Brown, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi and Angus Ta'avao.

In naming the side, head coach Colin Cooper touched on the privilege of playing for the Chiefs jersey for the young men.

"It will be a proud moment for our debutants when they run out with the team on Friday," Cooper said. "It is a privilege to wear the Chiefs jersey and as a team we want to demonstrate to our whanau and supporters how proud we are to represent our region and club."

Chiefs team:

1. Atu Moli (29)
2. Nathan Harris (44)
3. Angus Ta'avao (17)
4. Brodie Retallick (98) ©
5. Michael Allardice (34)
6. Mitchell Brown (21)
7. Lachlan Boshier (30)
8. Tyler Ardron (10)
9. Brad Weber (57)
10. Orbyn Leger*
11. Etene Nanai-Seturo**
12. Anton Lienert-Brown (55)
13. Tumua Manu*
14. Bailyn Sullivan (1)
15. Shaun Stevenson (33)

Reserves:

16. Samisoni Taukei'aho (9)
17. Aidan Ross (13)
18. Nepo Laulala (17)
19. Taleni Seu (34)
20. Jesse Parete (9)
21. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (17)
22. Stephen Donald (104)
23. Ataata Moeakiola**

* Chiefs debut
** Super Rugby debut