Brodie Retallick will provide the Chiefs with some much needed power up front in their match against the Brumbies in Hamilton on Friday, writes JON CARDINELLI
The Chiefs won the recent game against the Blues despite an unconvincing performance at the breakdowns and collisions. The return of Retallick, the 2014 World Rugby Player of the Year, will certainly boost their efforts at the tackle in the upcoming match against the Brumbies.
The Chiefs have also welcomed back captain and blindside flanker Liam Messam. The inclusion of these All Blacks forwards, as well as the fact that they are playing at home, means the Chiefs will start as favourites.
That said, the Brumbies made a statement with their 47-3 hammering of the Reds last week. The Chiefs will need to win the battle up front in order to limit the space of the Brumbies' dangerous backs.
Rookie Damian McKenzie impressed in his debut against the Blues last week, but will make way for All Blacks flyhalf Aaron Cruden this Friday. Cruden should lend the Chiefs more kicking and attacking options.
HEAD TO HEAD
Overall: Chiefs 7, Brumbies 13, Draw 1
In Hamilton: Chiefs 5, Brumbies 4
STATS AND FACTS
– Retallick played 12 Tests in 2014 (the All Blacks won 11 and drew one)
– The last seven games between these two teams have been won by the home side
– The Chiefs managed the most metres (597), breaks (12) and offloads (19) in round one
– The Brumbies topped the charts for carries (126), time in possession (19m52s) and tries (six). They also missed the fewest tackles last weekend (8).
– The Brumbies have won four of their last five regular season games on New Zealand soil
|Team||Top point-scorer||Top try-scorer||Most metres gained||Most tackles|
|Chiefs||Damian McKenzie (13)||Bryce Heem & James Lowe (1)||James Lowe (111)||Sam Cane (15)|
|Brumbies||Christian Leali'iafno (17)||James Dargaville, Joe Tomane, Matt Toomua, Nic White, Robbie Coleman & Tevita Kuridrani (1)||Tevita Kuridrani (83)||Christian Leali'iafano (6)|
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.
Brumbies – 15 Robbie Coleman, 14 Joe Tomane, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Leali'ifano, 11 Henry Speight, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White (c), 8 Ita Vaea, 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Josh Mann-Rea, 1 Scott Sio.
Subs: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 JP Smith, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Jordan Smiler, 20 Sean Doyle, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 James Dargaville, 23 Lausii Taliauli.
Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images