Chiefs Head Coach Warren Gatland has made a handful of changes to his twenty-three for the 7.05pm Saturday evening derby clash.
The Chiefs powerful forward pack remains unchanged. In the backline, first five-eighth Aaron Cruden will run out in jersey number ten for his 100th Gallagher Chiefs cap, shifting rookie Kaleb Trask to the bench. The only other changes to the elusive backline will see Shaun Stevenson return to the starting fifteen on the right wing, with Sean Wainui shifting to the left wing following Solomon Alaimalo’s shoulder injury last weekend against the Blues.
The re-enforcements off the bench, All Black prop Angus Ta’avao returns for his first Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa fixture and will be joined by young lock Naitoa Ah Kuoi who returns after being side-lined with concussion. Waikato loose forward Simon Parker is set to make his mark in Investec Super Rugby named on the bench in jersey twenty for his debut.
Gatland said he is calling for his side to deliver a performance they can be proud of.
“Last weekend I was exceptionally proud of the efforts from the boys. This weekend we need to again strive for a full eighty-minute performance. The Crusaders are a class act and will be hurting from the weekend but as a team we are ready for the challenge.”
“We have plenty to celebrate this weekend; Aaron’s impending milestone, a potential debut for Simon and we have both Angus and Naitoa returning from injury. We hope our fans come out to celebrate alongside us for our final 2020 home match.” finished Gatland.
1. Reuben O’Neill (9)
2. Bradley Slater (13)
3. Nepo Laulala (39)
4. Tupou Vaa’i (5)
5. Mitchell Brown (43)
6. Lachlan Boshier (55)
7. Sam Cane (120) ©
8. Pita Gus Sowakula (26)
9. Brad Weber (83)
10. Aaron Cruden (99) ***
11. Sean Wainui (36)
12. Alex Nankivell (30)
13. Anton Lienert-Brown (79)
14. Shaun Stevenson (50)
15. Damian McKenzie (82)
16. Samisoni Taukei’aho (34)
17. Ollie Norris (2)
18. Angus Ta’avao (33)
19. Naitoa Ah Kuoi (10)
20. Simon Parker**
21. Lisati Milo-Harris (3)
22. Kaleb Trask (7)
23. Quinn Tupaea (10)
() = Gallagher Chiefs caps in brackets
*denotes Gallagher Chiefs debut
**denotes Investec Super Rugby debut
***denotes 100 Gallagher Chiefs caps
Unavailable for selection:
Aidan Ross (calf), Tiaan Falcon (knee).
Season ending: Atu Moli (hips), Laghlan McWhannell (knee), Luke Jacobson (hand), Michael Allardice (shoulder), Nathan Harris (shoulder), Ryan Coxon (thumb), Sam McNicol (ankle), Solomon Alaimalo (shoulder).