Emerging locks get their chance with the Gallagher Chiefs

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All but out of the running in Sky Super Rugby Trans-Tasman, the Chiefs hang by a mathematical thread that would need Pythagoras to unravel, so coach Clayton McMillan has stuck with his squad and avoided the temptation of calling on returned All Black Brodie Retallick.

 

Having completed his quarantine after his sabbatical in Japan, Retallick is preparing for an All Blacks return next month. But McMillan said, "We would have loved Brodie to come over, but, unfortunately, he's been in isolation for a couple of weeks, so him being able to come out of that in reasonable nick probably wasn't realistic.

 

"We all know that he's an outstanding rugby player, and if we chucked him out there, he certainly wouldn't look out of place. But I think it'd be a bloody tough ask to bring him out of the cold.

 

"And, also, we want to show some faith in the guys that have worked hard training with us all year," he said.

 

One of those beneficiaries will be Zane Kapeli, who has been on the fringe of Super Rugby permanence without securing a complete contract.

He will lock with All Black Tupou Vaa'i while the call has gone out to Counties Manukau loose forward Viliami Taulani to join the side as locking cover.

 

While Kapeli has made six appearances for the side since being called up in April, having done pre-season work with the Hurricanes, the forward resources at the Chiefs meant he wouldn't have a contract with them next year.

 

McMillan, who coached Kapeli at Bay of Plenty, acknowledged his position.

 

"He's been a solid performer for us," he said.

 

Having worked with him for a few years, McMillan had always known he was capable.

 

"He's just taking all the challenges around playing multiple positions, and having to learn multiple roles, and has gone about his business and performed well.

 

"He's also well liked in the environment, he's got a bit of character about him. So, if we aren't able to pick him up one way or another, hopefully, his performance has raised the attention of other people," he said.

 

Centre Anton Lienert-Brown is on the bench with Alex Nankivell getting the position while Brad Weber will be back at halfback and Sean Wainui will be on the wing.

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