SUPER RUGBY Preview : Chiefs vs Rebels

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tables12bThe Chiefs have made only two changes to their starting XV that will face the Melbourne Rebels in Hamilton on Saturday.

Hooker Nathan Harris gets his first start in nearly two years as he replaces the in form Hika Elliot with the latter being named amongst the reserves.

All Black front-rower Harris, who hasn’t started for the two-time champions since sustaining a head injury in the clash between New Zealand and the USA Eagles in 2014 in Chicago, was named in the starting line-up against the Kings but was forced to withdraw and replaced by Elliot.

Prolific inside centre Charlie Ngatai has not recovered completely from a concussion knock and Anton Lienert-Brown will pair up with Seta Tamanivalu in the midfield.

Damian McKenzie (full-back), Toni Pulu (right wing) and James Lowe (left wing) all retain their starting XV positions.

The Melbourne Rebels have made three changes to the starting XV for their clash with the Chiefs on Saturday in Hamilton.

Tom English, Mitch Inman and Sam Jeffries have been recalled into the starting line-up, while Culum Retallick, Jonah Placid and Siliva Siliva have been named on the bench.

The Melbourne outfit have received a boost to their backline with English and Inman returning to the run-on team for the first time after injuries sidelined the pair since Round Five and Round Six, respectively.

English, who came off the bench last weekend in his first appearance since a knee injury to the Highlanders, replaces Cam Crawford on the left wing while Ellison makes way for Inman at outside centre.

Jeffries will make his second start of the season after getting the nod at lock for Luke Jones, who failed to overcome a back injury suffered in the eight-point loss to the Brumbies last weekend.

Siliva, a former Endeavour Hills junior, has been named in his first Rebels team since returning home from four seasons with the Brumbies after Pat Leafa injured his back at training on Thursday.

The Teams :

Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Seta Tamanivalu, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Taleni Seu, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Hiroshi Yamashita, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Mitchell Graham
Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Kane Hames, 18 Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, 19 Michael Allardice, 20 Tom Sanders, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Andrew Horrell, 23 Sam Vaka

Rebels: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Sefa Naivalu, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Tom English, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Nic Stirzaker (c), 8 Adam Thomson, 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Sam Jeffries, 3 Jamie Hagan, 2 James Hanson, 1 Toby Smith
Replacements: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Cruze Ah Nau, 18 Tim Metcher, 19 Culum Retallick, 20 Jordy Reid, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Jonah Placid, 23 Kotaro Matsushima

Date: Saturday, May 21
Venue: FMG Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-off: 19:35 local (07:35 GMT)
Referee: Angus Gardiner
Assistant Referees: Brendon Pickerill, Angus Mabey
TMO: Ben Skeen


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