February 21, 2024

Ah Kuoi to celebrate 50th match

Gallagher Chiefs forward Naitoa Ah Kuoi will start his 2024 DHL Super Rugby Pacific at home with a 50th milestone celebration.

The Bay of Plenty lock and loose forward debuted for the Gallagher Chiefs in 2020 and has gone from strength to strength, being named in the All Blacks XV squad last season. Well-known for his charismatic personality, Ah Kuoi has become a core part of the Chiefs whānau during his time with the club.

Ah Kuoi said of his impending achievement: “It’s pretty cool man and I’m very grateful! I remember coming into the club and seeing the faces of the people who hit 50 games and thought man, imagine doing that! So yeah it’s a huge milestone for me and the people who have supported me on my rugby journey.”

Completing the tight-five this week alongside Ah Kuoi will be Aidan Ross, Bradley Slater, Reuben O’Neill and Tupou Vaa’i.

Captain Luke Jacobson will start in the No.8 jersey with Samipeni Finau and Kaylum Boshier rounding out the loose forwards.

Xavier Roe will run out at halfback with Damian McKenzie commanding first-five. The electric Etene Nanai-Seturo returns on the wing with Liam Coombes-Fabling and Shaun Stevenson completing the back three. Meanwhile, All Blacks Quinn Tupaea and Anton Lienert-Brown will assemble in the midfield.

Gallagher Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan said: “It’s an exciting way to kick off the DHL Super Rugby Pacific season, and we look forward to hosting the Crusaders who are a formidable opposition.

“There were some tough conversations in selecting the team this week, with several of our younger squad members impressing through pre-season and pushing hard for inclusion. But you can’t underestimate the value of time in the middle, so we have selected a largely experienced and settled side who understand what will be coming at them come Friday night.”

The season opener will kick-off at 7.05pm this Friday at FMG Stadium Waikato with the Chiefs Manawa to play the Blues as a curtain raiser at 4.05pm as part of their pre-season preparations.

The Gallagher Chiefs team to face the Crusaders:
1. Aidan Ross
2. Bradley Slater
3. Reuben O’Neill
4. Naitoa Ah Kuoi
5. Tupou Vaa’i
6. Samipeni Finau
7. Kaylum Boshier
8. Luke Jacobson (Captain)
9. Xavier Roe
10. Damian McKenzie
11. Etene Nanai-Seturo
12. Quinn Tupaea
13. Anton Lienert-Brown
14. Liam Coombes-Fabling
15. Shaun Stevenson

16. Samisoni Taukei’aho
17. Ollie Norris
18. George Dyer
19. Jimmy Tupou
20. Simon Parker
21. Cortez Ratima
22. Josh Ioane
23. Daniel Rona

Match Details
23 February 2024
Curtain Raiser: Chiefs Manawa v Blues
Kick-Off 4.05pm

Gallagher Chiefs v Crusaders
Kick-Off 7.05pm

Location: FMG Stadium Waikato

Additional Information
Tickets are available now from chiefs.flicket.co.nz

Ah Kuoi to celebrate 50th match