May 01, 2024

Debut inbound for exciting prop Kauvaka Kaivelata

Counties Manukau standout Kauvaka Kaivelata is set to debut at home for the Gallagher Chiefs on Saturday night against the Western Force.

Part of the team’s environment last year as a National Development Contract (NDC) and University of Waikato Chiefs U20s player, Kaivelata’s work ethic and form impressed coaches to earn him a full-time spot this season.

Gallagher Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan said: “We look forward to playing at home in front of our loyal supporters and are preparing for the best version of the Force. They are a team who have recruited some great experience in key positions and have demonstrated an ability to knock off some of the best teams in the competition.

“Injuries to Jimmy Tupou and Shaun Stevenson have forced a couple of changes to the starting team, whilst exciting young prop Kauvaka Kaivelata gets his first opportunity in the match day 23.”

This weekend he will back up Aidan Ross and George Dyer who will start in the front row alongside hooker Bradley Slater. Tyrone Thompson and Ollie Norris will provide further support.

At lock, Naitoa Ah Kuoi and Tupou Vaa’i are reunited, with Manaaki Selby-Rickit making an impact off the bench.

After scoring in his first match leading the side, Kaylum Boshier will pull on the captain’s armband again this weekend beside the immense Samipeni Finau and Wallace Sititi in the loose forwards. Cortez Ratima once again lines up to start at halfback with the competition’s top point scorer Damian McKenzie at first five.

Daniel Rona shifts to the wing joining Emoni Narawa while Etene Nanai-Seturo moves into fullback. Adding depth will be Quinn Tupaea and Anton Lienert-Brown in the midfield.

Named in the reserves, Luke Jacobson will ease back into game day off the bench, with Simon Parker to also support the loose forwards. Meanwhile, Xavier Roe will be an impactful halfback and Josh Ioane a strong utility player for the backs.

“The Force’s victories against the Reds and Crusaders were an impressive balance of physicality and flair, and they were gritty in their loss last week to the Highlanders, a game that could have gone either way,” said McMillan.

“We will take confidence from our own performance last week, where we took a step forward in terms of our Set Piece execution, physicality, and general skill levels. But we are seeking improvement and consistency in our performances, and following the Force’s recent performances, we are fully dialled in and motivated to bring that to fruition.”

The game kicks off at 7.05pm this Saturday, May the 4th, at FMG Stadium Waikato with a galactic battle and laser light show at half-time to further entertain fans. Tickets are available from

Gallagher Chiefs to face the Western Force:
1. Aidan Ross
2. Bradley Slater
3. George Dyer
4. Naitoa Ah Kuoi
5. Tupou Vaa’i
6. Samipeni Finau
7. Kaylum Boshier (captain)
8. Wallace Sititi
9. Cortez Ratima
10. Damian McKenzie
11. Daniel Rona
12. Quinn Tupaea
13. Anton Lienert-Brown
14. Emoni Narawa
15. Etene Nanai-Seturo

16. Tyrone Thompson
17. Ollie Norris
18. Kauvaka Kaivelata*
19. Manaaki Selby-Rickit
20. Luke Jacobson
21. Simon Parker
22. Xavier Roe
23. Josh Ioane


Unavailable for selection: Kaleb Trask, Josh Lord, Jimmy Tupou, Shaun Stevenson, and Samisoni Taukei’aho.

All media enquiries to [email protected]

Debut inbound for exciting prop Kauvaka Kaivelata