New faces for the Chiefs ahead of Drua clash

New faces for the Chiefs ahead of Drua clash

The table-topping Gallagher Chiefs are back home for round nine of the DHL Super Rugby Pacific competition to face the Fijian Drua.

Clayton McMillan has selected a refreshed lineup for the clash that sees several players make their first start for the season.

The formidable front row combination of hooker Samisoni Taukei'aho, and props Ollie Norris and John Ryan are named for the starting line up with Tyrone Thompson, Jared Proffit and Solomone Tukuafu supporting them off the bench.

Manaaki Selby-Rickit will have his third start in Gallagher Chiefs colours alongside the experienced Brodie Retallick who will take over captain duties for this round.

Samipeni Finau will line up with Kaylum Boshier as the loose forwards, with Pita Gus Sowakula slotting back into number 8.

The in-form Cortez Ratima will start in halfback with Bryn Gatland at first-five, whilst Damian McKenzie will shift to fullback. Etene Nanai-Seturo is back on the wing with Shaun Stevenson, Rameka Poihipi and Daniel Rona completing this dynamic back row.

Gideon Wrampling and All Black Josh Lord will provide impact off the bench, both making their return to Super Rugby after being sidelined for the last few months with injuries.

Tupou Vaa'i, Simon Parker and Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi will provide further assistance in the reserves.

Gallagher Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan said: “The Fijian Drua have shown rapid improvement in their second season and have our full respect and attention. We know they have the athletes and skills to hurt you, particularly through the middle of the park where their power and athleticism can bend defensive lines and allow them to offload in contact.

“For us, there is some rotation, in part because of injury to regular starters, but also to reward those who have been working hard and demanding their opportunity.

“It is particularly pleasing to see Josh Lord and Gideon Wrampling back after long absences. Their return, and the expected return of others in the coming weeks, will trend us closer to a full squad to select from, and that’s exactly what we want heading into the back half of the season.”

The match will kick off at 7.05pm this Friday at FMG Stadium Waikato.

Gallagher Chiefs team to face the Fijian Drua:
1. Ollie Norris (35)
2. Samisoni Taukei'aho (70)
3. John Ryan (7)
4. Brodie Retallick (Captain, 121)
5. Manaaki Selby-Rickit (2)
6. Samipeni Finau (24)
7. Kaylum Boshier (15)
8. Pita Gus Sowakula (60)
9. Cortez Ratima (16)
10. Bryn Gatland (28)
11. Etene Nanai-Seturo (35)
12. Rameka Poihipi (21)
13. Daniel Rona (4)
14. Shaun Stevenson (74)
15. Damian McKenzie (102)

16. Tyrone Thompson (8)
17. Jared Proffit (1)
18. Solomone Tukuafu (1)
19. Josh Lord (15)
20. Tupou Vaa'i (36)
21. Simon Parker (4)
22. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (39)
23. Gideon Wrampling (1)

Chief's caps are in brackets.

Players not considered due to injury: Angus Ta'avao, Anton Lienert-Brown, Quinn Tupaea, Xavier Roe (season), Alex Nankivell, Sam Cane, Luke Jacobson

Fixture Information
Gallagher Chiefs v Fijian Drua
FMG Stadium Waikato
Kick-off: 7.05pm
Live: Sky Sport

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