Chiefs make eight changes

10th Apr 2014, 05:11

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First match of the season: Bundee Aki

First match of the season: Bundee Aki

The Chiefs have made eight changes to their starting line-up to play the Rebels at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton on Saturday.

The Chiefs have made eight changes to their starting line-up to play the Rebels at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton on Saturday.

Prop Jamie Mackintosh, lock Michael Fitzgerald and flanker Tanerau Latimer return amongst the forwards. Kane Thompson will start in the numbeer eight jersey while Liam Messam moves to the reserves. Brodie Retallick takes over the captaincy duties in the absence of the injured Aaron Cruden.

Gareth Anscombe gets his long-awaited start at fly-half with Bundee Aki at inside centre. Aki will play his first match of the season after having shoulder surgery in the off season. Mils Muliaina moves to the left wing and Tom Marshall shifts to fullback.

There have been four changes to the bench from last week. Pauliasi Manu moves to the reserves and is joined by Ross Filipo who gets the chance to have his first match of the season. Jordan Payne gets the opportunity to make his Chiefs debut off the bench and could be the ninth new Chief this season to take the field.

"The boys are happy to be home and really looking forward to playing in front of a big home crowd," said Chiefs coach Dave Rennie.

"All the Australian sides have been impressive this year and the Rebels are in good form having recently beaten the Brumbies and narrowly losing to the Highlanders."

Chiefs: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Tim Nanai-Williams, 13 Andrew Horrell, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Mils Muliaina, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Kane Thompson, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Tanerau Latimer, 5 Brodie Retallick (c), 4 Michael Fitzgerald, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Rhys Marshall, 1 Jamie Mackintosh.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Josh Hohneck, 19 Ross Filipo, 20 Liam Messam , 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Anton Lienert-Brown, 23 Jordan Payne.

Date: Saturday, April 12
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-off: 19.35 local (07.35 GMT)
Referee: Matt O'Brien (Australia)
Assistant referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), Ben O'Keefe (New Zealand)