All Blacks bolster Chiefs

Aaron Cruden will return at flyhalf in one of four changes to the Chiefs team to face the Brumbies in New Plymouth.

Cruden is one of three All Blacks added to the squad for Friday's match. Liam Messam will lead the side from blindside flank, while Cruden replaces the impressive Damian McKenzie, who drops to the bench, where he is joined by World Rugby Player of the Year, Brodie Retallick.

In further changes Jamie Mackintosh returns in the front row, former All Black Hosea Gear will make his debut on the left wing, while hooker Quentin MacDonald and New Zealand Cup Player of the Year, Seta Tamanivalu, are set to make their debuts from the bench.

'There is a huge amount of competition for places, and we are excited to have our returning All Blacks back in the mix,' said Chiefs coach Dave Rennie. 'Between our team and the Brumbies, there are plenty of world-class players on display and, with the styles both teams like to play, it will be a real positive game.'

Chiefs – 15 James Lowe, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Maama Vaipulu, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam (c), 5 Michael Fitzgerald, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Jamie Mackintosh.
Subs: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Ben Tameifuna, 19 Brodie Retallick, 20 Tevita Koloamatangi, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Seta Tamanivalu.

Photo: Hannah Peters/Getty Images