Cape Town - Veteran loose forward Liam Messam will play his 150th game for the Chiefs when they tackle the Bulls in a Super Rugby clash in Hamilton on Saturday.
Kick-off is at 08:35 SA time.
An experienced Chiefs line-up will take the field with Messam in his milestone game.
Up front, Siegfried Fisi’ihoi will start for the first time this season, packing down alongside Hika Elliot and Nepo Laulala in the front row. Dominic Bird and Brodie Retallick partner in the second row for the fifth consecutive game.
Messam moves from No 8 to start at blindside flank, with co-captain Sam Cane and Michael Leitch completing the formidable loose forward trio in jerseys 7 and 8 respectively.
Among the backs, Tawera Kerr-Barlow will don the No 9 jersey again this week, with Aaron Cruden returning to the starting XV to start at flyhalf.
Johnny Faauli is promoted from the bench to partner Anton Lienert-Brown in the midfield, while James Lowe is back on the left wing, with Shaun Stevenson and Damian McKenzie completing the backline.
It’s an exciting game for 28-year-old Southland hooker Brayden Mitchell who could make his Chiefs debut off the bench.
Messam, meanwhile, is dedicating his 150th game to Ka’iulani Forbes, a courageous two-year old battling stage 4 high risk neuroblastoma.
Messam and many of his Chiefs team-mates may run a little faster this Saturday when they take on the Bulls, having shaved their hair this week to raise money to assist the Forbes family in paying for the medical treatment Ka’iulani requires abroad.
Head coach Dave Rennie commented on the Chiefs’ official website: “It’s a special occasion for Liam, his whanau and our club this Saturday when he runs out for his 150th game for the Chiefs. Liam epitomises Chiefs mana; he has a massive work ethic and is an inspirational leader. While this milestone acknowledges Liam’s on-field achievements, we are immensely proud of the work he does with charities and in the community. It’s great to be able to honour Liam at home, a place where he’s received massive support from Chiefs fans since 2006.”
15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Johnny Faauli, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (co-captain), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane (co-captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Siegfried Fisi'ihoi
Substitutes: 16 Brayden Mitchell, 17 Kane Hames, 18 Atu Moli, 19 Taleni Seu, 20 Mitchell Karpik, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Stephen Donald, 23 Solomon Alaimalo
15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11Jamba Ulengo, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Nick de Jager, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Pierre Schoeman
Substitutes: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Jannes Kirsten, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Warrick Gelant