The Chiefs have made wholesale changes to their side that will take on the Crusaders on Saturday, with Sam Cane kept on the bench.
The Chiefs have made wholesale changes to their side that will tackle the Crusaders on Saturday, with flank Sam Cane being kept on the bench.
Seven alterations are made to the 22 as Andrew Horrell and Charlie Ngatai are the new starting midfield pair and are joined by Asaeli Tikoirotuma on the wing and Gareth Anscombe at full-back.
Rhys Marshall comes onto the bench replacing Mahonri Schwalger who is kept out this week with a knee injury and is joined by prop Ben Afeaki, Bundee Aki and Robbie Robinson.
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie acknowledged that hosting this game is the result of a lot of hard work by a lot of people and that his side is excited by the challenge and looking forward to playing in front of their family, friends and fans.
“We had an enormous amount of injuries in the first half of the campaign. So to win our conference and finish top seed speaks volumes for the culture and depth of our squad,” he said.
“But at this stage of the season, seeding's and previous results count for little. Success for us comes down to a willingness to scrap hard for each other for 80 minutes. The reward, a home final and a shot at another title.”
Chiefs: 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Andrew Horrell, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Matt Vant Leven, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Ben Afeaki, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Augustine Pulu, 21 Bundee Aki, 22 Robbie Robinson.
Date: Saturday, July 27
Kick-off: 19:35 local (07:35 GMT)
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, New Zealand
Referee: Steve Walsh
Assistant referees: Glen Jackson, Chris Pollock
TMO: Glenn Newman