Preview: Chiefs v Wales

Date published: June 13 2016

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Wales will face the 2012 and 2013 Super Rugby champions, the Chiefs, in a friendly match for the first time in Hamilton on Tuesday.

Warren Gatland's men lost their opening Test in their three-match series against the All Blacks in Auckland on Saturday.

The visitors went into the break with a slender three-point lead in a half which saw them match the current world champions in all facets, and dominating in some of those.

While the Chiefs are without a number of their senior players, who are away on All Black commitments, the matchday 23 boasts a sufficient number of experienced campaigners.

Scrum-half Brad Weber, who missed out on a call-up to the national side, will be hoping to take his fine Super Rugby form heading into this one.

Veteran playmaker Stephen Donald will lead the home side, while Bath-bound lock Luke Charteris will captain his country for the first time against the Chiefs. 

Scott Williams, Gareth Anscombe, Gareth Davies, Ellis Jenkins, Scott Baldwin, Rob Evans and Tomas Francis are all players that were part of the matchday squad in the first Test at Eden Park that have been retained for the clash with the Chiefs.

The front row, Scott Baldwin, Rob Evans and Tomas Francis, started a few weeks ago for Wales in the one-off Test against England at Twickenham.

A victory for either side here will in all likelihood not be high on the priority list for either coaches, but this game will definitely be utilised by the players to get the attention of their national selectors.

For the Wales players, seeing that they are already part of Gatland's touring squad, this is a chance to stake their claim for a spot in the 23 in Wellington this weekend.

Gatland selected a big squad because of the physicality that the three Tests would bring against New Zealand. Tuesday sees him return to the place of birth, Hamilton, and he suggested that Tuesday's match will be a solid test of the depth of his squad.

"Tuesday is a huge opportunity for these players, they have trained hard and are ready to get game time under their belts," Gatland said.

"Coming all the way to New Zealand, it was important we had a big enough squad for the three tests but also to provide game time for the players on tour and this match gives the players a chance to stake their claim for the final two tests aganist the All Blacks.

Players to Watch:

For Chiefs: Scrum-half Brad Weber's form in the Super Rugby season, so far, has been of an impecable standard. His agility and speed at which he gets the recycled ball to the Chiefs backs will make for a mouthwatering tussle as the home side will want to stretch the Welsh defence.

For Wales: Leading his side for the first time, Luke Charteris will want to assert his dominance at the lineout. The 33-year-old second-row will be up against the likes of Michael Allardice and Dominic Bird, which will give the 66 Test capped lock sufficient motivation to be at his best, not only at the set pieces but also on attack.

Head-to-head: Although only making his international debut in 2011 for Wales, fly-half Rhys Priestland has twice as many Test caps (46) as his opposite number, Stephen Donald, has for New Zealand (23). Based off comparing Donald's visionary skills to Priestland ability to control a match, even if Priestland's forwards are on the back-foot, this should be an interesting battle. 

Prediction: Home ground advantage will offer little to the Chiefs, and the visitors will use this match to get a morale-boosting win under the belt. Wales to win by more than ten.

Chiefs: 15 James Lowe, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Andrew Horrell, 11 Sam Vaka, 10 Stephen Donald (c), 9 Brad Weber, 8 Tom Sanders, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Mitchell Brown, 5 Michael Allardice, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Hiroshi Yamashita, 2 Rhys Marshall, 1 Mitchell Graham
Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, 18 Atu Moli, 19 Taleni Seu, 20 Tevita Koloamatangi, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Sam McNicol, 23 Latu Vaeno

Wales: 15 Matthew Morgan, 14 Eli Walker, 13 Tyler Morgan, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Tom James, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 James King, 7 Ellis Jenkins, 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 Luke Charteris (c), 4 Jake Ball, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Rob Evans
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Aaron Jarvis, 18 Rhodri Jones, 19 Bradley Davies, 20 Ross Moriarty, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Gareth Anscombe, 23 Rhys Patchell

Date: Tuesday, June 14
Venue: FMG Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-off: 18:35 local (08:35 GMT)

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