ROTORUA, New Zealand – The Chiefs, fresh off the bye after a strong win against the Reds in Brisbane, are ready to face the in-form Jaguares in a Super Rugby match in Rotorua this Friday.
It is the Jaguares’ first-ever visit to Chiefs country, after playing the Chiefs only once in Argentina in 2016. That game went down to the wire, a late Brad Weber try securing the win.
Coach Colin Cooper has had some additional time in the bye week to look at the Jaguares.
“This will be a really tough game - from a win against the Brumbies to beating the Blues in Auckland is a great feat, so they are showing their worth.
"We certainly have been analysing them and getting ready for the attack that they are going to bring. They’re strong in their set piece and defensively we will be tested.”
Cooper has kept the same front row which performed really well against the Reds. In the second row, Cooper has decided to rest Brodie Retallick, bringing in Michael Allardice who put in a strong performance against the Hurricanes.
“We want Brodie to be firing on all cylinders for the Stormers game in South Africa. He gives so much as a leader off the field, and on the field he brings everything, and we need to keep that alive in him.”
The most capped Chief, Liam Messam, will start in the No 8 jersey.
In the backline, Toni Pulu comes back from injury on to the wing, and Alex Nankivell comes in at second five. Johnny Faauli has earned a rest after starting every game so far this season.
On the bench, there is a potential debut for Levi Aumua back from injury, and for Bay of Plenty loose forward Jesse Parete in as injury cover.
Chiefs team: 15 Charlie Ngatai (co-captain), 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Alex Nankivell, 11 Solomon Alaimalo, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Sam Cane (co-captain), 6 Lachlan Boshier/Luke Jacobson, 5 Tyler Ardron, 4 Michael Allardice, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Liam Polwart, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Jeff Thwaites, 19 Luke Jacobson/Jesse Parete, 20 Pita Gus Sowakula, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Levi Aumua.
African News Agency (ANA)