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Two talented young rugby players with immensely promising futures have signed with the Gallagher Chiefs. 2017 World Rugby Championship-winning New Zealand Under 20s captain Luke Jacobson has committed to the Chiefs until 2020, and his NZ U20s teammate - exceptional playmaker Tiaan Falcon, has signed for two years.

Incoming Gallagher Chiefs head coach Colin Cooper said: “We are really rapt that Luke and Tiaan will be joining us for the next few years. These are two exceptional signings for the Club which secure the future of the Chiefs. I’m pretty excited to work with both these young men who are quality players with huge potential.”

“It has always been a dream of mine to be a Chief,” said 20-year-old loose forward Luke Jacobson. “I had a small taste of it this year, being a part of the Chiefs team to play in the Global Brisbane 10s tournament and also attending some trainings throughout the year and I enjoyed every minute of it. I’m really excited to be a part of the team.”

Tiaan Falcon, 20, said: “I’m really excited about this opportunity with the Chiefs, especially being able to develop my game at 1st five. I’ve heard really good things about the culture and the people at the Chiefs so I’m looking forward to getting there and really embracing this opportunity later in the year.”

Waikato loose forward Luke Jacobson is forging an impressive rugby career. Born in Te Awamutu and raised in Cambridge, Jacobson attended Cambridge High School, earning selection for the New Zealand Schools team in 2014. In 2016 he captained the Waikato U19s in the Jock Hobbs Memorial National U19s Tournament, leading his team to Graham Mourie Cup victory and being awarded Player of the Tournament in the process. Jacobson has experienced the Chiefs development pathways firsthand, having played for the Chiefs U20s team and the University of Waikato Taua Development team, with the latter captained by his older brother Mitch. This year he received the Chiefs Under 20s Player of the Year award. The 20-year-old was a prominent figure in the Gallagher Chiefs Brisbane Global Rugby Tens squad, scoring a superb individual try in the final against the Crusaders.

Exciting first five-eighth Tiaan Falcon was a standout for the New Zealand U20s at the World Rugby U20 Championship in Georgia this year. The accomplished goal kicker was born in Penrith, Australia and moved to New Zealand at age two. He is the son of former Maori All Black and Hurricanes representative Gordon Falcon and is a product of Lindisfarne College in Hastings. In 2016 at just 19 years old, Falcon made his Mitre 10 Cup debut for Hawke’s Bay, demonstrating great composure and tactical nous in his 10 appearances last year. He is set to play a pivotal role for Hawke’s Bay again this season and further develop his halfback/1st five partnership with Hawke’s Bay and Gallagher Chiefs teammate Brad Weber.

Three spirited and skillful halfbacks have signed with the Gallagher Chiefs for 2018. The Chiefs welcome Rotorua-born Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi who will join the team on a two-year term. The 22-year-old Taranaki halfback has just completed his second season of Investec Super Rugby with the Hurricanes. Tahuriorangi completes the trio of exciting number 9 signings, with experienced Hawke’s Bay halfback Brad Weber, 26, committing to the Gallagher Chiefs until 2020 and promising young Counties Manukau halfback Jonathan Taumateine signing for two more years.

Incoming Gallagher Chiefs head coach Colin Cooper said: “We’ve secured a great balance of experience and x-factor with the signings of Brad, Te Toiroa and Jonathan. Having worked with Brad in the Maori All Blacks and with Te Toiroa in Taranaki for the past few years, I’m excited and have a lot of confidence in what they’ll bring to the Chiefs in 2018 and beyond. I’m really looking forward to working with Jonathan, at just 20-years of age he has a big future ahead of him and will create great competition amongst our three halfbacks for the starting spot.” 

Jonathan Taumateine, 20, said he was excited to continue his rugby journey with the Gallagher Chiefs.

“It’s been a really enjoyable and challenging year for me experiencing my first season of Super Rugby with the Chiefs. I’ve learned a lot this season and I’m excited to continue learning and growing in the Chiefs environment both as a player and as a person.”

“I’m pumped to announce I've re-signed with the Chiefs,” said experienced Gallagher Chiefs halfback Brad Weber. “The Chiefs gave me my first opportunity as an unknown player four years ago and I'm really looking forward to carrying on playing for this team that I love. The culture here is second to none and there’s no place I’d rather be as I strive to reach the goals I've set for the next few years."

It’s a homecoming for Tahuriorangi who cited family as his main motivator for the move north.

“Coops [Colin Cooper] has really driven the importance of whanau in my time being coached by him, both in Taranaki and with the Maori All Blacks. Rugby is important but family is the reason for everything, so to be able to be based nearer Rotorua and to continue my Super Rugby career in an environment where whanau is number one and I can keep growing as a player is exciting.”

Dynamic halfback Brad Weber has played 41 Investec Super Rugby games for the Gallagher Chiefs to date. He was a mainstay in the Gallagher Chiefs team in 2016 and played a starring role in his side’s celebrated win over Wales. Weber had a breakout year in 2015, earning his All Blacks debut against Samoa in Apia, as well as being a key performer for the Ranfurly Shield-winning Waikato side. Weber is a former Junior World Champion, having won the Title with the New Zealand U20s side in 2011. His 2017 on-field aspirations suffered a set-back when he fractured his femur during this year’s inaugural Brisbane Global Rugby Tens final. The 26-year-old will make his highly anticipated return to rugby for Hawke’s Bay in the 2017 Mitre 10 Cup competition.

2017 has been a year of growth for Jonathan Taumateine. He has made six strong appearances for the Gallagher Chiefs in the Investec Super Rugby competition, boasting an 87% tackle completion rate. The Counties Manukau halfback was part of the side that won the inaugural Brisbane Global Rugby Tens competition, and came off the bench to face the British & Irish Lions team in June.  The 20-year-old is a Wesley College graduate known for his quick feet and high skillset.

Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi is a product of Rotorua Boys High School. He was a key member of his Schools 1st XV, with his strong performances earning him selection into the Chiefs U17s squad. In 2014, Tahuriorangi moved to New Plymouth to join the Taranaki Rugby Academy. Impressive performances in 2015 saw Tahuriorangi selected for the New Zealand U20s team and the New Zealand Barbarians; he then made the Taranaki Mitre 10 Cup team, which capped off a stellar year. The 22-year-old has spent two seasons at the Hurricanes, starting against the British & Irish Lions, as well as making 10 appearances in Super Rugby to date. The promising halfback also has experience playing under Colin Cooper with Taranaki, as well as being named in the Maori All Blacks squad for the 2017 DHL New Zealand Lions Series. 

The Gallagher Chiefs’ 2017 season has come to an end at the hands of an impressive Crusaders side, going down 27-13 in a tough and physical semi-final at AMI Stadium in Christchurch.

Despite having very little possession and being forced to defend for most of the match, the clinical Crusaders still managed to produce four tries, to the Chiefs one, to book their spot in next weekend’s Super Rugby final.

The Chiefs got off to a strong start, controlling the opening 10 minutes of the match with plenty of territory and possession, but the Crusaders muscled up on defence to shut them down, which proved to be a theme throughout the encounter.

After absorbing the early pressure, the home side moved swiftly downfield with the Chiefs doing well to keep them out. Eventually a penalty was won as the Chiefs were caught offside defending on their own goal line, and first five Richie Mo’unga was successful with his first kick of the night.

Not long after the restart the Crusaders launched a superb counter attack from their own 22, with several players involved and halfback Bryn Hall the man to take the last pass to score a fine team try.

Trailing 10-0 after the opening quarter of play, the Chiefs needed a quick response and it looked to have come through wing Tim Nanai-Williams who finished off after a neat James Lowe chip and chase, but the try was ruled out by the TMO for a knock on over the line.

They did manage to come away with something to show for their efforts however as fullback Damian McKenzie landed a penalty to get his side on the scoreboard.

Another strong period with ball in hand from the Chiefs saw them build further pressure with the Crusaders successfully defending wave after wave of attack. But with just two minutes left in the half McKenzie managed to land another simple penalty attempt, and the gap was narrowed to just four points.

To end the first half, the Chiefs produced another scintillating breakout from inside their own territory, with McKenzie and Lowe again heavily involved, but the Crusaders scrambled superbly again to deny them, and they went into the break hanging on to their slim 10-6 lead.

After a positive start to the second half, the Chiefs were unfortunate to concede a try at the other end against the run of play. With Lowe looking to clear for touch after a loose pass, the ball was knocked out of his grasp by Mo’unga and Israel Dagg was on hand to collect the ball and score.

The Dagg try seemed to give the home side a lift as they enjoyed the better of the following 10 minutes, but like the first half they struggled to hold onto the ball - until Seta Tamanivalu came into his own against his former team. After initially being held up over the line, the big winger came from the blindside off the resulting five metre scrum to crash his way over the line.

Mo’unga’s conversion took the scoreline out to 22-6, leaving the Chiefs a huge task as the match headed into the final quarter.

Needing to score three times in the final 20 minutes to keep their season alive, the Chiefs began to throw caution to the wind which resulted in some spectacular running rugby but ultimately for little gain as the defence of the home side continued to deny them.

With yet another phase of attack thwarted, the Crusaders set about working their way downfield and, at the end of one of their longest periods of possession in the match, Tamanivalu found a fraction of space on the right hand touchline to touch down in the tackle for his second try.

As the clock wound down the Chiefs didn’t stop trying and were rewarded with two minutes remaining when centre Anton Lienert-Brown burst onto a pass and spun his way into a gap before popping a well-timed pass in the tackle for lock Brodie Retallick to score.

McKenzie quickly added the extras to narrow the deficit to 14, but the Crusaders held possession for the remaining few moments to seal a deserved win.

Gallagher Chiefs 13 (Brodie Retallick try; Damian McKenzie con, 2 pens) Crusaders 27 (Seta Tamanivalu 2, Israel Dagg, Bryn Hall tries; Richie Mo’unga 2 cons, pen) HT: 6-10.

The stage is set for a sensational semifinal showdown at AMI Stadium in Christchurch this Saturday. Only one team will remain in the running for the coveted 2017 Investec Super Rugby title when referee Glen Jackson blows the whistle to end this weekend’s war between the Gallagher Chiefs and the BNZ Crusaders.

Head coach Dave Rennie has named his strongest possible team to do battle with the Southerners at 7.35pm on Saturday night. There are just three changes to the side that defeated the Stormers 17-11 in a spirited Cape Town quarterfinal contest last weekend.

Resilient midfielder Charlie Ngatai returns from an ankle injury to start at second five-eighth, with veteran utility back Stephen Donald vacating the number 12  jersey to bolster the bench. Experienced Samoan-International Tim Nanai-Williams is promoted from the reserves to start on the right wing.

The Gallagher Chiefs team to play the BNZ Crusaders at 7.35pm this Saturday in Christchurch is:

1.            Kane Hames (24)

2.            Nathan Harris (30)

3.            Nepo Laulala (14)

4.            Mitchell Brown (17)

5.            Brodie Retallick (84)

6.            Liam Messam (161)

7.            Sam Cane (94) – Co-captain

8.            Michael Leitch (33)

9.            Tawera Kerr-Barlow (82)

10.         Aaron Cruden (88) – Co-captain

11.         James Lowe (52)

12.         Charlie Ngatai (42)

13.         Anton Lienert-Brown (39)

14.         Tim Nanai-Williams (84)

15.         Damian McKenzie (49)    

RESERVES:

16.         Liam Polwart (5)

17.         Aidan Ross (5)

18.         Atu Moli (27)

19.         Dominic Bird (28)

20.         Lachlan Boshier (18)

21.         Finlay Christie (9)

22.         Stephen Donald (103)

23.         Shaun Stevenson (24)

() = Gallagher Chiefs caps in brackets

Not considered for selection: Brad Weber, Mitchell Graham, Sam McNicol, Toni Pulu, Taleni Seu, Hika Elliot and Johnny Faauli.

Brace yourself for another huge NZ derby this weekend when we visit the Crusaders at AMI Stadium in Christchurch for the highly anticipated semi final of the Investec Super Rugby competition. There’s a lot on the line with a spot in the final up for grabs, where the victor will face either the Hurricanes or the Lions who will battle it out in the other semi final.

Both teams come into this game off the back of solid performances in their respective quarter finals. The Crusaders held their nerve to defeat their Southern rivals the Highlanders, with a dominating performance, winning 17-0 in wet conditions. The Gallagher Chiefs left Cape Town victors 17-11, after a bruising battle with the Stormers. The reliable boot of Damian McKenzie and a late try by Shaun Stevenson proved to be the difference and they’ll look to build on that in Christchurch.

There’s a great rivalry between the two teams with two epic semi finals played out in recent occasions that will live long in the memories of Chiefs fans. 2012 and 2013 saw the Gallagher Chiefs host the Crusaders in back to back home semi’s with the Chiefs coming out on top 20-17 and 20-19 respectively in nail biters. Co-captain Aaron Cruden played crucial roles in both games, and will be looking to assert that valuable experience on Saturday evening.

The Gallagher Chiefs have a dominant record in recent times over the Crusaders, winning eight of the last 12 matches since 2012, including three wins from their last three visits in Christchurch.

Damian McKenzie has been a constant threat in 2017, and leads the competition charts with 1565 metres from 223 carries. McKenzie has accumulated 132 points this campaign and will be looking to add to that tally tonight. Brodie Retallick has been another ever present in the forward pack. The big lock has been crucial in defence, boasting a 93.2% tackle completion rate, making over 124 tackles.

The Crusaders have a star-studded All Blacks front row, which includes Joe Moody, Codie Taylor and Owen Franks. They will lock to be dominant in the scrum and provide a platform for their exciting backline which features the likes of Ryan Crotty, Jack Goodhue, Israel Dagg and David Havili. First five-eighth Richie Mo’unga has done a great job at directing the Crusaders backline in 2017, and has managed an impressive 116 points from the 11 games he’s played.

It will be a fantastic battle come Saturday, with key match ups all over the field. The game kicks off at 7:35pm and fans will be able to tune in on Sky Sport 1. Alternatively, if you plan on travelling down to support the boys, make sure you have your tickets secured here. Get ready for it and enjoy the game, it is sure to be a cracker! 

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Anton Lienert-Brown
Full Name: Anton Lienert-Brown
Team: Chiefs
Position:Second Five-Eighth
Height:185cm
Weight:96kg
DOB:15.04.95
Super Rugby Games:23
Super Rugby Debut:2014 v Bulls in Pretoria
Province:Waikato
Provincial Games:19
Provincial Points:20 (4t)
Provincial Debut:2014 v Wellington
Test Caps:6
Test Points:10 (2t)
Test Debut:2016 v Australia in Wellington
instagram:#antonlienertbrown

140419 chvcr 021

Anton went from strength to strength in 2016. An impressive Super Rugby season was followed by numerous starts in the All Blacks midfield, performing admirably and with maturity beyond his years.. - The Chiefs

Midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown enters his fourth season with the Chiefs after a hugely impressive breakout season in 2016 which saw him become a regular in the All Blacks midfield.

Anton has represented the New Zealand u20 side, taking the Junior World Cup title in Italy in 2015.  He was part of the team that won the Ranfurly Shield for Waikato.  His brother Dan also plays Super Rugby.

Full birth date and place of birth
15.04.1995 in Christchurch

What representative teams have you been a part of (including high-school 1st fifteen)?
Christchurch Boys High School 1st XV, New Zealand U20s, Waikato ITM Cup, Gallagher Chiefs

What primary school(s) did you go to?
Ilam Primary School

What high school(s) did you go to?
Christchurch Boys High School

Favourite subject at school?
Physical Education

How many siblings do you have?
Two – one brother and one sister

Any trades or university qualifications?
I’m currently studying sports and leisure studies.

Who was your favourite player growing up?
Sonny Bill-Williams

Who is your favourite non-rugby sportsperson or sports team?
Michael Jordan

Favourite band or musician?
UB40

What do you eat for breakfast on game day?
Cereal or toast with eggs

Fantasy dinner party: Who would be your top three dinner guests (dead or alive)?
Michael Jordan, Justin Bieber, Beyonce

What do you do for fun away from rugby?
Golf

Best holiday destination?
Samoa

What would you eat for your last ever meal?
KFC

An interesting fact about you?
I played Super Rugby before I played senior club rugby

What advice would you give to your 10-year-old self?
Work hard kid

What does representing the Gallagher Chiefs mean to you?
It means a lot to me to be in such an awesome environment with good values, hard work ethics and a higher brotherhood.

2017 Investec Super Rugby Table

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