The Gallagher Chiefs aim to get their revenge against the Queensland Reds on Saturday, as the DHL Super Rugby Pacific competition heads into the knock-out quarterfinals.
The Aussie team was the only team to defeat the Chiefs this season when they won 25-22 in May in New Plymouth.
The Waikato-based team will now be in the comfort of their home stadium after two weeks on the road in Australia, and while head coach Clayton McMillan says the upcoming game is going to be a challenge, the team is ready.
“Notwithstanding the challenge the Reds bring, we have focused on ourselves this week and named a largely settled side,” he says.
“Having returned from Perth and navigating a shorter training week, we have removed a lot of clutter, understanding our players are at their best when they are clear on their roles and can play with freedom.”
McMillan says the Reds were “deserved winners” in their last encounter.
“Their tactical kicking game, ability to build high phase counts and greater desperation [then] proved to be the difference.”
Now the Chiefs hope for a different outcome than last month, counting on their staple starting line-up thanks to the multiple changes in the final two rounds of the regular season which means many key players are well-rested.
Meanwhile, assistant coaches Roger Randle and David Hill just announced they will continue in their roles until the end of 2026. This means, their contract extensions align with that of McMillan.
Chiefs Rugby Club chief executive Simon Graafhuis says the club was delighted to have “the core of our coaching group” in place for the next three years.
“We believe that consistency and continuity are keys to the ongoing success of the Chiefs Rugby Club... It is pretty unique to have coaches that have such deep connection to the club and community.”
Full preview via NZ Herald
Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “We come into the quarter-final with a great challenge in front us. Finals footy is a step up in intensity, physicality and pressure.
“The Chiefs finished as minor premiers and are deserved favourites in Hamilton this Saturday.
“They’ve got threats across the park and we will need to be at our best to challenge them this weekend.”
- Peni Ravai – Easts – Ratu Kadavulevu School, Fiji
- Matt Faessler – Brothers – Toowoomba Grammar School – USQ Saints
- Sef Fa’agase – Sunnybank – Shailer Park State High School – Beaudesert Warriors
- Angus Blyth – Bond University – The Southport School – Casuarina Beach Rugby Club
- Ryan Smith – Brothers – St Patrick’s College Shorncliffe – Caboolture Snakes
- Seru Uru – Wests – Ratu Kadavulevu School, Fiji – Namoli Rugby Club, Fiji
- Fraser McReight – Brothers – Brisbane Grammar School – Albany Creek Brumbies
- Harry Wilson – Brothers – St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace – Gunnedah Red Devils
- Tate McDermott – University of Queensland – Sunshine Coast Grammar School – Flinders Rugby Club
- Tom Lynagh – University of Queensland – Epsom College – Richmond Rugby Club
- Josh Flook – Brothers – St Joseph’s Nudgee College – Brothers
- James O’Connor – Brothers – St Joseph’s Nudgee College – Brothers
- Filipo Daugunu – Wests – Dogotuki District School, Fjii
- Suliasi Vunivalu – Wests – Saint Kentigern College, Auckland
- Jock Campbell – University of Queensland – The Southport School – Inverell Highlanders
- Richie Asiata – Easts – Anglican Church Grammar School
- Dane Zander – University of Queensland – St Joseph’s Nudgee College – Albany Creek Brumbies
- Zane Nonggorr – Bond University – The Southport School – Gold Coast Eagles
- Lopeti Faifua – Wests – Saint Kentigern College, Auckland
- Jake Upfield – Bond University – The Southport School
- Kalani Thomas – University of Queensland – Ipswich Grammar School – Souths
- Lawson Creighton – Brothers – Padua College
- Taj Annan – Souths – Brisbane Boys College – Mereweather Carlton
Gallagher Chiefs team to face the Queensland Reds:
1. Aidan Ross (71)
2. Samisoni Taukai'aho (75)
3. John Ryan (14)
4. Brodie Retallick (125)
5. Josh Lord (18)
6. Samipeni Finau (29)
7. Sam Cane (Co-Captain, 147)
8. Luke Jacobson (60)
9. Brad Weber (Co-Captain, 120)
10. Damian McKenzie (108)
11. Etene Nanai-Seturo (41)
12. Rameka Poihipi (27)
13. Anton Lienert-Brown (103)
14. Emoni Narawa (26)
15. Shaun Stevenson (81)
16. Bradley Slater (48)
17. Ollie Norris (42)
18. George Dyer (18)
19. Naitoa Ah Kuoi (46)
20. Pita Gus Sowakula (66)
21. Cortez Ratima (23)
22. Josh Ioane (9)
23. Daniel Rona (8)