Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie has made just two changes to the starting fifteen which defeated the Crusaders to face the Lions.
In the forwards, Maama Vaipulu gets the start at number eight, with Tom Sanders moving to blindside flanker. In the backs, Latu Vaeno gets his first start on the right wing, with Shaun Stevenson forced to sit out the game due to a minor shoulder complaint.
In the reserves, Japan captain Michael Leitch is expected to make his highly anticipated return to Super Rugby, while former Warrior Glen Fisiiahi looks set to earn his first Super Rugby cap from the bench.
The Lions have made three changes to their starting line-up for Saturday’s Super Rugby clash with he Chiefs in Hamilton.
There are as many on the bench.
Harold Vorster will partner Lionel Mapoe in midfield with Howard Mnisi moving to the bench and among the forwards the old KES pairing of Malcolm Marx and Dylan Smith gets a start in the red and white jersey.
Akker van der Merwe will wear the number 16 jumper and next to him on the bench is Corné Fourie while Fabian Booysen will make his Super Rugby debut should he get a run.
The red and white Lions jersey will sport the blue and white colours of the Els for Autism Foundation in its numbers on the back in support of golfer Ernie Els, international ambassador of the Lions.
Gallagher Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie: “This is a big game for us. We play the Currie Cup Champions, a side who were unlucky not to make the Super Rugby play-offs last year.
“While we were happy with the attitude and effort against the Crusaders, we know we can be more clinical and have learnt a lot about ourselves.
“It’s nice to get a bit of continuity from a selection point of view for our first outing at home.”
|03 May 2014||Chiefs||38 – 08||Lions|
|05 May 2012||Chiefs||34 – 21||Lions|
|23 Apr 2011||Lions||30 – 34||Chiefs|
|19 Feb 2010||Lions||65 – 72||Chiefs|
|04 Apr 2009||Chiefs||36 – 29||Lions|
|10 May 2008||Lions||33 – 27||Chiefs|
|16 Mar 2007||Chiefs||34 – 07||Lions|
|17 Feb 2006||Lions||21 – 16||Chiefs|
|15 Apr 2005||Chiefs||45 – 14||Lions|
|10 Apr 2004||Lions||23 – 21||Chiefs|
Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Latu Vaeno, 13 Seta Tamanivalu, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (c), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Maama Vaipulu, 7 Sam Cane (c), 6 Tom Sanders, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Michael Allardice, 3 Hiroshi Yamashita, 2 Rhys Marshall, 1 Pauliasi Manu
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Mitchell Graham, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Taleni Seu, 20 Michael Leitch, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Anton Lienert-Brown, 23 Glen Fisiiahi
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnal Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith.
Replacementss: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Corné Fourie, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Fabian Booysen, 21 Jaco van der Walt, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Rohan Janse van Rensburg
Date: Saturday, March 5
Venue: FMG Stadium, Waikato
Kick-off: 17:15 local (04:15 GMT)
Referee: Andrew Lees
Assistant Referees: Nick Briant, Angus Mabey
TMO: Aaron Paterson