Change of role for Luke Jacobson

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That change has been forced by the All Blacks' rest requirements which means the side will be without flanker Sam Cane, lock Brodie Retallick, halfback Brad Weber and first five-eighths Damian McKenzie.

Assistant coach Roger Randle said they have every confidence in the players selected, they have trained well, and it was a chance to display the depth the Chiefs have in their squad.

Bryn Gatland will play at first five-eighths in his first appearance of the year. He suffered a head knock in the first preseason game against Moana Pasifika, and in the run against the Blues, he was behind a pack that struggled before getting a yellow card in their next match.

"He's been training well off the back of a great Bunnings Cup last year. He played well last year so we are blessed to have three quality first five-eighths."

Lock Manaaki Selby-Rickit will debut for the Chiefs - his first game after missing the pre-season with a knee injury. It also looked better for Josh Lord, who is a week or two away from being available. He will be paired with Naitoa Ah Kuoi.

Halfback Cortez Ratima replaces Weber.

Tyrone Thompson will have his first start as hooker.

The Rebels, who beat the Waratahs last week, have boosted their leadership stocks with hooker Anaru Rangi making his first appearance, off the bench, since rejoining the team last year.

But, it is in the loose where the Rebels will be looking to hit the Chiefs. No8 Richard Hardwick has been in good form and has scored three tries. He has made an impact at the ruck and had the better of the Waratahs unit.

First five-eighths Carter Gordon has also regained his best touch and is another with three tries so far.

Second five-eighths Stacey Ili summed up the team's approach to their Hamilton contest.

"We've trained hard this week to sharpen up on a few things and keep the momentum going.

"This will be a good test for us, and the boys can't wait to get stuck in. Saturday will provide an opportunity to see where we are at as a team.

"When we met last year, it was a tight game, but this year brings a new challenge, and we're up for that."


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