Throughout the Super Rugby season, slow starts have threatened to hurt the Chiefs.

The Chiefs have fallen behind in the first half of all of its matches, and while they've managed to build a 4-1 record, coach Warren Gatland is hopeful the slow starts are behind them.

The Chiefs showed positive signs early in their demolition of the Waratahs in Wollongong last weekend to go ahead 13-0, but found themselves behind 14-13 at the break. Now, back in Hamilton for a clash against the Hurricanes, Gatland said the team wanted to build on their last outing.

"Last week we started well and that provided us with a solid platform for the second half," Gatland said. "Again, this week we will be challenged to do the same.

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"Any New Zealand derby is going to be a tough battle, the Hurricanes will be hurting from their loss last weekend and will be hungry to rectify that. We need to remain focused on being disciplined, utilise our opportunities and deliver a performance that our members and supporters can be proud of."

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The Chiefs welcome Damian McKenzie back in the No 15 jersey, with Solomon Alaimalo moving to the wing in place of the injured Sean Wainui. The shifts were among three changes to the starting side from a week ago, with Mitchell Brown replacing Tyler Ardron at lock, with the Canadian international ruled out due to an infection.

Wainui (ankle) and Ardron were among a number of players unavailable for selection due to injury, with Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi and Nepo Laulala sidelined by knee injuries, Angus Ta'avao out with a quad issue, Luke Jacobson hampered by a hamstring injury and Nathan Harris out for the season after undergoing shoulder surgery in the off-season.

Damian McKenzie will return for the Chiefs this weekend. Photo / Photosport
Damian McKenzie will return for the Chiefs this weekend. Photo / Photosport

On the bench, All Blacks prop Atunaisa Moli makes his return to the 23 alongside hooker Bradley Slater, in place of Ryan Coxon and Donald Maka respectively, in the only changes in the reserves.

Chiefs: Damian McKenzie, Shaun Stevenson, Tumua Manu, Anton Lienert-Brown, Solomon Alaimalo, Aaron Cruden, Brad Weber, Pita Gus Sowakula, Sam Cane, Lachlan Boshier, Mitchell Brown, Michael Allardice, Ross Geldenhuys, Samisoni Taukei'aho, Aidan Ross. Reserves: Bradley Slater, Atunaisa Moli, Reuben O'Neill, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Mitchell Karpik, Lisati Milo Harris, Kaleb Trask, Alex Nankivell.

Catch all the weekend's Super Rugby on nzherald.co.nz and Sky Sport 1 from Friday at 7.05pm.