Elliot, Cane back for Chiefs
Hamilton - The Chiefs on Thursday announced their team to play the Highlanders in a Super Rugby qualifier in Dunedin on Saturday.
It is the fourth consecutive year under coach Dave Rennie that the Chiefs have made the playoffs.
Newly re-signed Chiefs hooker Hika Elliot and flank Sam Cane will return to the side, having been rested last week. The match will be Elliot’s 100th Super Rugby game.
Michael Fitzgerald moves onto the blindside flank, while captain Liam Messam takes over the No 8 duties.
Brad Weber starts at scrumhalf, with Andrew Horrell getting the nod at pivot.
Cousins Tim Nanai-Williams and Sonny Bill Williams will pair up in the midfield with Charlie Ngatai out due to concussion.
Damian McKenzie starts at fullback with Tom Marshall ruled out with a knee injury.
Twenty-year-old Kayne Hammington gets the opportunity to make his Super Rugby debut for the Chiefs off the bench. He is joined by new reserves Michael Leitch, Marty McKenzie and Seta Tamanivalu.
Saturday’s clash at Forsyth Barr Stadium kicks off at 09:35 (SA time).
15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Richard Buckman, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu (co-captain), 7 Dan Pryor, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Mark Reddish, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Brendon Edwards
Substitutes: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Joe Latta, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Shaun Treeby
15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Tim Nanai-Williams, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 James Lowe, 10 Andrew Horrell, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Liam Messam (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Michael Fitzgerald, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Pauliasi Manu
Substitutes: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Siate Tokolahi, 18 Jamie Mackintosh, 19 Mitchell Crosswell, 20 Michael Leitch, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Seta Tamanivalu