Ben Afeaki's calf strain has handed Ben Tameifuna an opportunity to remind the All Blacks selectors of his ability when the Chiefs play the Crusaders on Friday night.
Afeaki, called into the All Blacks environment for the first time when attending the recent wider training camp at Mt Maunganui, has been ruled out of the clash at Waikato Stadium. In his place at tighthead prop comes Tameifuna, on the All Blacks' radar last year but struggling with his weight and fitness this term.
The other change to the starting XV made by coach Dave Rennie sees Patrick Osborne, a former Crusaders wider training group player, start at right wing ahead of Lelia Masaga.
Sam Cane, returning from a back injury which ruled him out of last weekend's 17-12 victory over the Hurricanes in Wellington, is on the reserves bench, Tanerau Latimer retaining his position at openside flanker.
Rennie has brought Bay of Plenty midfielder Kenny Lynn into the squad as midfield cover following Richard Kahui's season-ending shoulder injury.
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The Chiefs will wear special edition jerseys to help raise help raise awareness and funds for the Waikato District Health Board's child and youth health services Waikids. Some of the jerseys will be sold after the match.
Chiefs team to play the Crusaders at Waikato Stadium on Friday, kick-off 7.35pm is: Robbie Robinson, Patrick Osborne, Charlie Ngatai, Bundee Aki, Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Aaron Cruden, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Matt Vant Leven, Tanerau Latimer, Liam Messam, Brodie Retallick, Craig Clarke (c), Ben Tameifuna, Hika Elliot, Pauliasi Manu. Reserves: Mahonri Schwalger, Toby Smith, Michael Fitzgerald, Sam Cane, Augustine Pulu, Dan Waenga, Lelia Masaga.
Crusaders: Israel Dagg, Tom Marshall, Ryan Crotty, Tom Taylor, Zac Guildford, Dan Carter, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read (c), Matt Todd, George Whitelock, Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Ben Funnell/Laurence Corlett, Joe Moody, Dominic Bird, Luke Whitelock, Willi Heinz, Robbie Fruean, Telusa Veianu.