Sam Cane, Mitchell Brown and Mitchell Karpik return from injury to bolster the Chiefs ahead of Sunday’s clash against an unchanged Crusaders side.
As Super Rugby Aotearoa heads into round three, the Chiefs will be desperately searching for their first win in the competition, and in this regard coach Warren Gatland will be happy to have key players returning from injury.
‘We were disappointed with our performance against the Blues last Saturday and we know we are better than that,’ Gatland commented.
‘We are under no illusion that this weekend will be another challenging game, the Crusaders are a sharp team and can quickly punish teams for their mistakes. We need to be alert when we are defending and sharp on attack to allow us to capitalise on any opportunities presented to us.’
Meanwhile, Scott Robinson has named an unchanged match-day squad, with All Blacks hooker Codie Taylor once again set to captain the side following news that Scott Barrett has been ruled out of the competition due to injury.
‘We know the nature of the competition, it is a sprint, it’s short, sharp,’ Robertson said.
‘It’s really important to get off to a good start and that’s what we’ve done with the team that played well last week and [we’ve] rewarded them.’
Chiefs – 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Solomon Alaimalo, 13 Quinn Tupaea, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Sean Wainui, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Pita Gus Sowakula, 7 Sam Cane (c), 6 Lachlan Boshier, 5 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 4 Mitchell Brown, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Bradley Slater, 1 Aidan Ross.
Subs: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Reuben O’Neill, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Adam Thomson, 20 Mitchell Karpik, 21 Lisati Milo-Harris, 22 Kaleb Trask, 23 Tumua Manu.
Crusaders – 15 Will Jordan, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Braydon Ennor, 12 Jack Goodhue, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Whetu Douglas, 7 Billy Harmon, 6 Cullen Grace, 5 Mitchell Dunshea, 4 Samuel Whitelock, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor (c), 1 Joe Moody.
Subs: 16 Brodie McAlister, 17 George Bower, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Ethan Blackadder, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 David Havili, 23 Leicester Faingaanuku.
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