Chiefs pick Damian McKenzie at flyhalf
Tokyo - Chiefs coach Colin Cooper has made five changes to his starting XV for the clash with the Sunwolves at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 06:15 SA time).
The away side come in to this game buoyed by two confidence-building wins in recent weeks against the Blues and the Bulls.
The Sunwolves were also very impressive in Johannesburg last weekend, narrowly losing to last year’s Super Rugby finalists the Lions by just two points.
Up front, Canadian recruit Tyler Ardron comes in to the locking department to partner Brodie Retallick. It’s the Canadian’s first start for the Chiefs after an impressive cameo off the bench against the Blues in Round 3.
Taleni Seu also comes in at No 8 after a rest last weekend.
In the backline, quick-footed Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi starts at scrumhalf, after making a fantastic impact as a substitute against the Bulls last week. Speedster Toni Pulu is back from injury for the first time this season at right wing and Marty McKenzie starts at fullback with brother Damian moving to flyhalf.
It will also be a special evening for Waikato youngster Bailyn Sullivan who is in line to make his Super Rugby debut off the bench. Sullivan has been training with the squad throughout the pre-season and is also a member of the University of Waikato Chiefs Taua Development squad.
Cooper is looking forward to the game ahead in Japan against the Sunwolves.
“We’re really excited to be here in Tokyo, Japan. It’s the first time the Chiefs have been here to play in this Super Rugby competition so it’s an historic occasion. We know how tough the Sunwolves will be to beat at their home ground so we’re focused on preparing really well for a tough match on Saturday afternoon.”
15 Ryuji Noguchi, 14 Kotaro Matsushima, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12
Michael Little, 11 Hosea Saumaki, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8
Willem Britz (captain), 7 Edward Quirk, 6 Michael Leitch, 5 Uwe Helu, 4
Kazuki Himeno, 3 Hencus van Wyk, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Keita Inagaki
Yusuke Niwai, 17 Craig Millar, 18 Jiwon Koo, 19 Wimpie van der Walt, 20
Yoshitaka Tokunaga, 21 Yutaka Nagare, 22 Robbie Robinson, 23 William
15 Marty McKenzie, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Johnny Fa'auli, 11 Solomon Alaimalo, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 8 Taleni Seu, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Lachlan Boshier, 5 Tyler Ardron, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Aidan Ross
Substitutes: 16 Liam Polwart, 17 Karl Tu'inukaufe, 18 Jeff Thwaites, 19 Michael Allardice, 20 Mitchell Karpik, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Sean Wainui, 23 Bailyn Sullivan