Damian McKenzie to start at 10 for Chiefs
Christchurch - New Chiefs head coach Colin Cooper has selected a physical
and experienced line-up to take on the Crusaders in their Super Rugby opener in
Christchurch on Saturday.
The starting fifteen features five 2017 All Blacks in the
pack alone, as well as the much-talked about combination of Brad Weber and
Damian McKenzie in the number nine and ten jerseys.
"Everyone is talking about Damian, but it’s just about
giving him time at ten," said Cooper.
"Brad is coming off injury, but played really well in
the preseason and shows a lot of excitement if he can get into space”, said
The pack is looking strong and competitive with a tight five
of Aidan Ross, Nathan Harris, Nepo Laulala, Brodie Retallick and Dominic Bird.
"Mitchell Brown had a very good game against the
Brumbies (in last weeks' pre-season match) and brings a lot of physicality,"
"Sam Cane is an All Black with proven leadership, and a
hard worker. Taleni Seu is new at number eight, but I like his skill, speed and
power off the back of the scrum."
The midfield combination of Johnny Faauli and Anton Lienert-Brown
is strong, and the back three of Solomon Alaimalo, Shaun Stevenson, and
Co-captain Charlie Ngatai is particularly exciting for what they each bring to
15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Pete Samu, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Luke Romano, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett
Substitutes: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Chris King, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Billy Harmon, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Manasa Mataele
15 Charlie Ngatai (co-captain), 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Johnny Fa'auli, 11 Solomon Alaimalo, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Taleni Seu, 7 Sam Cane (co-captain), 6 Mitchell Brown, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Aidan Ross Substitutes: 16 Liam Polwart, 17 Atu Moli, 18 Angus Ta'avo, 19 Liam Messam, 20 Lachlan Boshier, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Sean Wainui