Match Details: Chiefs v Brumbies, FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton, Saturday, June 17, 7.05pm NZT.
Won: Chiefs (13 wins) Brumbies (16 wins) Drawn 1
Last time: Brumbies 21-32 Chiefs, May 27, 2023, GIO Stadium, Canberra
Referee: Nic Berry
Chiefs (Played 15, won 14) ACT Brumbies (Played 15, won 11)
Dynamic Chiefs hooker Samisoni Taukei'aho will be a vital driver of the Chiefs pack on Saturday. He has been outstanding with the ball in hand throughout the campaign, during which he has beaten 41 defenders, second only to the Hurricanes' Ardie Savea (45) among all forwards in the competition. Backed by locks Brodie Retallick and whichever of Tupou Vaa'i, Naitoa Ah Kuoi or Josh Lord gets to pack down with him, there are some heavy-duty workers in the Chiefs unit, and they will need to be, given the power the Brumbies can call in in the tight exchanges.
Defence coaches from all sides pour over rival's statistics all the time, and for Saturday, they show where the Brumbies will need to be on their game. The Chiefs are best in the competition in line breaks 7.7-5.4 (eighth for the Brumbies), kicks from hand 28.9-23.1 (fifth), tackle percentage 89.2-84.9 (eighth), scrum success 97.1-90.7 (eighth) while the Brumbies have made most tackles per game 184.4-168.8 (fourth), but the Chiefs are second in the least missed tackles 18.2-27.9 (11th). The Chiefs are also second in metres carried 899.6-787.0 (ninth) and third in defenders beaten 28.3-20.7 (eighth) and ruck success 96.1-95.0 (eighth).
Brumbies captain and halfback Nic White after Saturday's win over the Hurricanes, "[We will] celebrate this over the next little while and then rest, recover and get stuck into review, because [there's] plenty to learn from, look at and preview, and get over there and throw the kitchen sink."
Brumbies speedster on the wing Corey Toole has shown how dangerous he can be with his speed in scoring 13 tries in 2023, but the Chiefs can look to fullback Shaun Stevenson who has 11 tries while both sides feature prominently in try assists. Brumbies halfback Nic White is third-ranked in the competition, and fullback Tom Wright is equal sixth with the Chiefs trio of first five-eighths Damian McKenzie, Stevenson, and mid-field back Rameka Pohipi.
Playing away from home against the Chiefs is not the worst hurdle the Brumbies could face. They have won two of their last three DHL Super Rugby Pacific away games to the Chiefs and three of their last five against the minor premiership winners. But wins have all gone to the home teams in three finals games between the sides. They last met in playoffs in 2013, when the Chiefs won that season's final 27-22.
1. Aidan Ross 2. Samisoni Taukei'aho 3. George Dyer 4. Brodie Retallick 5. Tupou Vaa'i 6. Samipeni Finau 7. Sam Cane (Co-Captain) 8. Luke Jacobson 9. Brad Weber (Co-Captain) 10. Damian McKenzie 11. Etene Nanai-Seturo 12. Anton Lienert-Brown 13. Alex Nankivell 14. Emoni Narawa 15. Shaun Stevenson
16. Tyrone Thompson 17. Ollie Norris 18. John Ryan 19. Naitoa Ah Kuoi 20. Pita Gus Sowakula 21. Cortez Ratima 22. Josh Ioane 23. Rameka Poihipi
1. James Slipper 2. Lachlan Lonergan 3. Sefo Kautai 4. Nick Frost 5. Cadeyrn Neville 6. Tom Hooper 7. Pete Samu 8. Rob Valetini 9. Nic White 10. Jack Debreczeni 11. Ollie Sapsford 12. Tamati Tua 13. Len Ikitau 14. Andy Muirhead 15. Tom Wright
16. Connal McInerney 17. Blake Schoupp 18. Rhys Van Nek 19. Darcy Swain 20. Luke Reimer 21. Ryan Lonergan 22. Noah Lolesio 23. Corey Toole