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History will be made this Saturday when the Chiefs U20s team plays their first ever International fixture against the Argentina U20s team at Massey Park in Papakura. It is the third and final match of the 2017 Chiefs U20s programme, offering players an important opportunity to impress New Zealand U20s selectors ahead of the Under 20 World Championship in Georgia from 25 May – 18 June 2017.

The Chiefs U20s programme sits within the University of Waikato Chiefs Development programme, which identifies promising Chiefs region rugby players and develops them for future opportunities in professional rugby, together with their Provincial Unions.

The Chiefs U20s vs. Argentina U20s match kicks off at 4.30pm this Saturday 25 March. Entry is free into Massey Park, Papakura to watch this historic match.

The Chiefs U20s team to play Argentina U20s is:

1. Alex Mitchell (Taranaki)
2. Samisoni Taukei’aho (Waikato)
3. Tevita Mafileo (Bay of Plenty)
4. Lachlan McWhannell (Waikato)
5. Sam Caird (Waikato
6. Luke Jacobson (Waikato)
7. Du Plessis Kirifi (Waikato)
8. Ajay Mua (Bay of Plenty)
9. Caleb Korteweg (Waikato)
10. Ciarahn Matoe (Taranaki)
11. Sali Tukania (Counties Manukau)
12. Orbyn Leger (Counties Manukau)
13. Sevu Reece (Waikato)
14. Tyler Campbell (Waikato)
15. Kaleb Trask (Bay of Plenty)

16. Damon Abraham (Counties Manukau)
17. Bradley Slater (Taranaki)
18. Jesse Williams (Bay of Plenty)
19. Sione Tuipulotu (Counties Manukau)
20. Tom Florence (Taranaki)
21. Joe Johnson (Bay of Plenty)
22. Te Ra Whata (Bay of Plenty)
23. Matt McKenzie (Taranaki)
24. Walter Fifita (Counties Manukau)

Chiefs U20s Management Team:
Coach: Tai Lavea
Coach: Tasesa Lavea
Coach: Paul Tito
Trainer: George Wardell
Video Analyst: Mark Ray
Physio: Kyle Turvey
Manager: Paul Galletta

Programme Manager: Kent Currie

A late flurry of 20 points in the final 15 minutes has secured the Gallagher Chiefs a 27-14 win over the Rebels at AAMI Park in Melbourne and extended their unbeaten start to the season to four wins.


While not at their best throughout the match, the strong finish was enough for a four tries to one bonus point victory that ensures the Chiefs remain at the top of the Super Rugby standings as they head into their bye week.


From the opening whistle the Chiefs showed their intent to play the game at pace but they were met by some well organised defence from the home side early on, which proved to be the case throughout most of the first half.


Both teams had scoring opportunities in the opening quarter with Chiefs first five Damian McKenzie and Rebels second five Reece Hodge missing shots at goal.


After coming away unscathed from plenty of early Gallagher Chiefs pressure, the Rebels slowly worked their way into the game but failed to get anything to show for it as Hodge was off target with two more penalty attempts.


The first points of match finally came in the 23rd minute as the Chiefs rumbled downfield and lock Dominic Bird pounced on a loose ball for a rare try after Tom Sanders had the ball stripped out just a metre from the line.


It was very nearly a double strike when a chip from centre Anton Lienert-Brown saw fullback Shaun Stevenson regather and tip toe down the left wing to score but he was to be denied by the TMO with his foot hitting the white line as he caught the ball.


A yellow card to Liam Messam for infringing at ruck time led to another penalty attempt for the Rebels, and a change in kicker did the trick with first five Jackson Garden-Bachop making the score 7-3 to the Chiefs with 10 to play in first half.


An injury to Toni Pulu then forced a reshuffled to the Gallagher Chiefs backline with Aaron Cruden coming on, McKenzie moving to fullback and Stevenson shifting to the right wing.


The frustrating first half drew to a close with neither side really threatening to add further points and, despite a lot of territory and possession, the Chiefs had to settle for their four-point lead at the break.


A superb start to the second half from the Rebels saw them strike first with wing Marika Koroibete finishing in the left hand corner after a strong midfield break from Number 8 Amanaki Mafi.


The Chiefs looked to have made an instant reply with Damian McKenzie dotting down after a quick throw in from Stephen Donald, but once again on review Stevenson had a foot in touch in the build up.


More good field position for the Rebels ended in another three points from the boot of Garden-Bachop to push the lead out to four points, and Chiefs coach Dave Rennie responded with some fresh legs from the bench.


However, the Chiefs comeback efforts became more difficult when young winger Solomon Alaimalo was yellow carded for a tip tackle as the match neared the three quarter mark.


Still with plenty of time on the clock, a patient build up from the Chiefs saw lock Brodie Retallick barge his way over the line off the back of a strong rolling maul for his second try in two weeks.


McKenzie added his second conversion of the evening to give the Chiefs a three-point buffer but that was quickly wiped out as the Rebels swung back downfield and Garden-Bachop nailed his third penalty to tie the match.


As the match headed into the final 10 minutes the visitors upped their game and began to take control, and it wasn’t long before McKenzie was able to land a penalty which was quickly followed by a well worked try to flanker Sam Cane to give some much needed breathing space.


There was time for one final try with the last play of the match as Lienert-Brown broke clear down the right and drew the last defender to Stevenson who finished off from 40 metres out to seal the bonus point and an important away win.


Gallagher Chiefs 27 (Dominic Bird, Brodie Retallick, Sam Cane, Shaun Stevenson tries; Damian McKenzie 2 cons, pen) Rebels 14(Marika Koroibete try; Jackson Garden-Bachop 3 pens) HT: 7-3.


The Gallagher Chiefs have a bye next week before returning to FMG Stadium Waikato to take on the Bulls on Saturday 1st April.


The Gallagher Chiefs are changing up their bootlaces and their lineup ahead of the team’s first trans-Tasman contest for 2017 against the Melbourne Rebels on Friday. To celebrate the inclusive, uniting and inspiring power of rugby, the Gallagher Chiefs will wear a fluorescent lace in one boot. The other lace has been exchanged with our smallest fans and neighbours from a Hamilton Day Care. These vocal little fans cheer on the team throughout training from their day care each week and are the perfect example of how #rugbyisforeveryone.

Gallagher Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie has made extensive changes for the Round 4 game at AAMI Park in Melbourne. In the forwards, Bay of Plenty hooker Sabastian Siataga earns his first start of his Investec Super Rugby career after impressing in his debut off the bench in the Gallagher Chiefs 26-18 win over the Hurricanes last Friday. Siataga will pack down alongside Kane Hames and Nepo Laulala, who start in jerseys 1 and 3 respectively for the fourth consecutive week.

The second row remains unchanged from the opening three rounds, with Dominic Bird and Brodie Retallick set to continue their impressive locking partnership again this Friday. Co-captain Sam Cane will don the number 7 jersey in his second appearance of the season. He is joined by Tom Sanders and veteran Liam Messam who return to the 23 this week to complete the loose forward trio.

Tawera Kerr-Barlow makes his fourth consecutive start of the season at halfback. There are a number of exciting changes in the backline beginning with Damian McKenzie who will start at first five-eighth. Stephen Donald will start in jersey 12, with Anton Lienert-Brown shifting out this week to start at centre.  21-year-old Northland outside back Solomon Alaimalo will make his Investec Super Rugby debut on the left wing, with Toni Pulu retaining the number 14 jersey. The evasive Shaun Stevenson should prove a handful at fullback in his first start of the 2017 season.

In the reserves, Hika Elliot, Siegfried Fisi’ihoi and Atu Moli provide experienced front row cover, with the hard-working pair of Mitchell Brown and Mitchell Karpik looking to add impact off the bench. Finlay Christie gets another opportunity this week following his debut game against the Hurricanes last Friday. He is joined on the bench by Co-captain Aaron Cruden and midfielder Johnny Faauli.

  The Gallagher Chiefs team to play the Melbourne Rebels at 9.45pm NZT on Friday is:

  1. Kane Hames (12)
  2. Sabastian Siataga (1)
  3. Nepo Laulala (3)
  4. Dominic Bird (14)
  5. Brodie Retallick (74)
  6. Tom Sanders (16)
  7. Sam Cane (co-captain) (83)
  8. Liam Messam (148)
  9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow (70)
  10. Damian McKenzie (36)
  11. Solomon Alaimalo**
  12. Stephen Donald (92)
  13. Anton Lienert-Brown (27)
  14. Toni Pulu (16)
  15. Shaun Stevenson (10)


16. Hika Elliot (107)

17.Siegfried Fisi’ihoi (14)

18. Atu Moli (14)

19. Mitchell Brown (5)

20.Mitchell Karpik (1)

21.Finlay Christie (1)

22.Aaron Cruden (co-captain) (76)

23.Johnny Faauli (2)

() = Gallagher Chiefs caps in brackets

**denotes Investec Super Rugby debut


Unavailable for selection: Brad Weber, Mitchell Graham, Nathan Harris, James Tucker, Glen Fisiiahi, Chase Tiatia, Michael Allardice, Charlie Ngatai, Sam McNicol, Tim Nanai-Williams, James Lowe, Michael Leitch and Liam Polwart.

All Blacks, Gallagher Chiefs and Waikato halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow will bid adieu to New Zealand at the end of 2017. The 26-year-old has signed a three-year deal with French Top 14 Club La Rochelle, where he will link up with former All Blacks Victor Vito and Jason Eaton.

“I’m excited to announce that the next chapter of my rugby career will be with La Rochelle in France. It was an extremely hard decision to make, but I feel it is the right one for my family and myself. I’ve always wanted to play rugby in New Zealand and to represent teams like Waikato and the Chiefs which is where my family comes from. It was a childhood dream of mine to become an All Black and it has been a privilege to represent my country.

“Over the past couple of months I’ve thought long and hard about going overseas. I had really good contact with the Chiefs and the All Blacks throughout the process, but ultimately the opportunity to play rugby with La Rochelle and experience the French culture with my family was the right decision for me. At this point in time, I’m 100% focused on helping the Chiefs to another Super Rugby title and making the best of every moment I have left to play rugby in New Zealand” said Kerr-Barlow.

Melbourne-born Kerr-Barlow arrived in New Zealand in 2004 as a 13-year-old and attended Hamilton Boys High School. The hard-working halfback made his debut for Waikato in 2009 and in 2010 he was part of the New Zealand Under 20 side that won the Junior World Championship in Argentina.

Kerr-Barlow made his Investec Super Rugby debut for the Gallagher Chiefs in 2011 against the Brumbies. Since then the clinical number nine has become a mainstay for the Gallagher Chiefs, dotting down seven times in his 70 appearances to date.

Gallagher Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie said: “Tawera is one of the nicest guys you’ll meet and has been a pleasure to work with. Caring and competitive are two traits that stand out, but it’s his work ethic and leadership around defence that makes him world-class. Tawera is in the form of his life, we wish him well.”

Tawera Kerr-Barlow is Gallagher Chief #198

The Gallagher Chiefs have won their third straight New Zealand derby to continue their perfect start to the season, beating the defending champion Hurricanes 26-18 at FMG Stadium Waikato.


In atrocious conditions, with heavy rain falling throughout most of the match, the Chiefs produced a disciplined and controlled performance to secure another win and send them to the top of the Investec Super Rugby table.


Both teams made a positive start to the match with plenty of continuity on attack in the pouring rain, highlighting the talent on display across the park, but the opening minutes also saw an unfortunate shoulder injury to Tim Nanai-Williams which gave an early entrance to Stephen Donald.


Shortly after, the first scoring opportunity of the match came for the Hurricanes and first five Beauden Barrett was on target with a penalty to put the visitors in front.


A strong response from the Chiefs saw them swing onto attack and, after turning down an easy shot at goal of their own, they pressured the Hurricanes attack for several minutes before lock Brodie Retallick barged his way over the line to score.


Fullback Damian McKenzie nailed the tricky conversion to give the Chiefs a 7-3 lead at the end of the first quarter, with the try coming just after Ardie Savea was yellow carded for repeat infringements from the Hurricanes near their own goal line. 


Soon after Barrett struck his second penalty of the evening but the Hurricanes were then briefly reduced to 13 players with Michael Fatialofa sent to the bin for a no-arms tackle.


The ill-discipline led to good field position for the Chiefs which they eventually turned into three more points from the boot of McKenzie.


Late in the half the physicality of the match really began to show with several big tackles and collisions setting the tone for a big second half, but not before the Chiefs landed a huge blow.


In the final play of the half a superbly weighted chip kick over the defence from halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow off the back of a scrum gave Toni Pulu a chance, and the big winger out sprinted the defence to slide over for the try.


McKenzie was again on target from out wide with the extra two points to take the lead out to 17-6 at the break.


Buoyed by their strong finish to the first half, the Gallagher Chiefs came out with a spring in their step to start the second spell and, after 10 minutes of territorial dominance, McKenzie chipped over another three pointer to extend the lead.


The Hurricanes slowly began to get their hands on the ball more but the Chiefs defence was up to the task, and the home side went past the 60 minute mark without conceding a try for the third straight week.


Finally, their line was breached when Hurricanes halfback TJ Perenara did well to force his way over the line off the back of a maul to get his side back into the contest.


The try sprung the visitors into action and suddenly they looked dangerous every time they touched the ball, but the hard to crack Chiefs defence didn’t take long to tighten up once more.


With the Hurricanes chasing the game, McKenzie was able to add his third penalty with just over five minutes remaining to continue his perfect night off the kicking tee.


Chiefs Number 8 Michael Leitch was then sent to the bin for a reckless tackle and a desperate Hurricanes side were rewarded for throwing caution to the wind with a well worked try to wing Julian Savea.


Their second try put them in bonus point territory and gave them one final play to snatch an unlikely win but a Stephen Donald turnover halted their late charge.


The resulting penalty gave McKenzie the chance to deny the Hurricanes their bonus point and he made no mistake as the visitors were forced to head back to Wellington with nothing to show for their efforts.


Gallagher Chiefs 26 (Brodie Retallick, Toni Pulu tries; Damian McKenzie 2 cons, 4 pens) Hurricanes 18 (TJ Perenara, Julian Savea tries; Beauden Barrett con, 2 pens) HT: 17-6.


Player Profile

2017 Investec Super Rugby Table

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