Chiefs and Highlanders have everything confirmed to face the second date of Super Rugby Aotearoa. For Hamilton’s team it will be the debut of the season since on the first date it was free, and will have several new faces, including Bryn Gatland, son of Warren, coach last season.
The other peculiarity is that Gatland, who in 2020 played for Highlanders, gave him the victory with a drop in time on the first date just against his current team.
Five rookies are on the roster of 23: Sione Mafileo, Bryn Gatland and Jonah Lowe will don the Gallagher Chiefs jersey for the first time, named in the starting XV alongside Samipeni Finau, who will make his Super Rugby debut in the jersey. number six. While Xavier Roe, he could also have his first minutes in the competition and will wait on the bench.
On the Highlanders side, head coach Tony Brown’s forward pack remains unchanged, with Irishman Jack Regan again as the starter. Two changes between the backs with Josh Ioane as starter and Mitch Hunt back as fullback, the position in which the game ended against the Crusaders last Friday.
Aaron Smith will be on the bench allowing Folau Fakatava his first starting appearance of the season. Fakatava had an outstanding Miter 10 campaign for Hawkes Bay and impressed off the bench against the Crusaders in the first round.
On the bench, Manaaki Selby-Rickit replaces Bryn Evans and Solomon Alaimalo completes the six forwards.
Chiefs: 1. Reuben O’Neill (10) 2. Samisoni Taukei’aho (36) 3. Sione Mafileo * 4. Tupou Vaa’i (7) 5. Naitoa Ah Kuoi (12) 6. Samipeni Finau ** 7. Sam Cane (122) (cc) 8. Luke Jacobson (25) 9. Brad Weber (85) (cc) 10. Bryn Gatland * 11. Etene Nanai-Seturo (14) 12. Anton Lienert-Brown (81) 13. Sean Wainui (38) 14. Jonah Lowe * 15. Damian McKenzie (84)
Alternates: 16. Bradley Slater (15) 17. Ollie Norris (4) 18. Angus Ta’avao (35) 19. Mitchell Brown (45) 20. Mitchell Karpik (29) 21. Xavier Roe ** 22. Alex Nankivell (32 ) 23. Shaun Stevenson (52)
() = In parentheses number of games in Chiefs
* debut in Chiefs
** debut in Super Rugby
Highlanders: 1. Daniel Lienert-Brown, 2. Ash Dixon (cc), 3. Siate Tokolahi, 4. Josh Dickson, 5. Jack Regan, 6. Shannon Frizell, 7. Billy Harmon, 8. Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, 9 Folau Fakatava, 10. Josh Ioane, 11. Jona Nareki, 12. Patelesio Tomkinson, 13. Ngatungane Punivai, 14. Connor Garden-Bachop, 15. Mitch Hunt
Substitutes: 16. Liam Coltman, 17. Josh Hohneck, 18. Jeff Thwaites, 19. Manaaki Selby-Rickit, 20. Liam Squire, 21. Aaron Smith (cc), 22. Solomon Alaimalo, 23. Hugh Renton