Following a credible performance against the Crusaders last week, Gatland has named an unchanged forward pack. However, injury has forced Gatland’s hand to make changes to the side’s backline.
Anton Lienert-Brown has been side-lined with concussion. Rookie Quinn Tupaea shifts into second five-eighth with Tumua Manu moving into the starting line-up at centre.
Electrifying fullback Damian McKenzie will run out for his 80th game in the Gallagher Chiefs jersey.
In the reserves, young lock Tupou Vaa’i and rookie loose forward Dylan Nel return to the twenty-three in the only two changes to the replacement forwards. After running out for Rotoiti Rugby Club last weekend, experienced halfback Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi returns to the twenty-three and is joined by fellow Bay of Plenty teammate Kaleb Trask. Waikato’s Solomon Alaimalo completes the line-up in jersey twenty-three.
Gatland said they need to apply their learnings from previous encounters to deliver the performance they are after.
“Last week against the Crusaders we put on a solid performance however a few crucial moments cost us the win in a tight battle. We need to execute those opportunities to gain the win.”
“There is a great rivalry between our two teams and the boys are eager to get one back after falling short before lockdown. The Hurricanes have some elusive attacking players and are a dangerous team with ball in hand. We know they will be refreshed and eager to get a win, just like us, so it will be a tight tussle and one we know families and fans will enjoy,” finished Gatland.
1. Aidan Ross (34)
2. Bradley Slater (10)
3. Nepo Laulala (36)
4. Mitchell Brown (40)
5. Naitoa Ah Kuoi (9)
6. Lachlan Boshier (52)
7. Sam Cane (117) ©
8. Pita Gus Sowakula (23)
9. Brad Weber (80)
10. Aaron Cruden (97)
11. Etene Nanai-Seturo (13)
12. Quinn Tupaea (7)
13. Tumua Manu (19)
14. Sean Wainui (33)
15. Damian McKenzie (79)
16. Samisoni Taukei’aho (31)
17. Reuben O’Neill (6)
18. Ross Geldenhuys (8)
19. Tupou Vaa’i (2)
20. Dylan Nel (3)
21. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (36)
22. Kaleb Trask (5)
23. Solomon Alaimalo (44)
() = Gallagher Chiefs caps in brackets
*denotes Gallagher Chiefs debut
**denotes Investec Super Rugby debut
Unavailable for selection: Angus Ta’avao (quad), Mitchell Karpik (concussion), Anton Lienert-Brown (concussion)
Season ending: Atu Moli (hips), Laghlan McWhannell (knee), Luke Jacobson (hand), Michael Allardice
(shoulder), Nathan Harris (shoulder), Ryan Coxon (thumb), Sam McNicol (ankle).
Game Day Information:
Fixture: Gallagher Chiefs vs. Hurricanes, Sunday 5 July, 3.35pm
Location: FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton