June 15, 2023

Experienced Gallagher Chiefs side named for semi-final


The Gallagher Chiefs will look to leverage home advantage again this weekend when they face the Brumbies for the DHL Super Rugby Pacific semi-final.

The Gallagher Chiefs team are back to full strength with just three changes to the starting lineup where lock Tupou Vaa'i and centre Alex Nankivell return from injury, with Rameka Poihipi to add midfield impact from the bench.

George Dyer will start at tighthead prop, while All Blacks Aidan Ross, Samisoni Taukei'aho and Brodie Retallick complete the tight five.

The loose forwards are unchanged with the ever-consistent Samipeni Finau, co-captain Sam Cane, and Luke Jacobson at No.8.

Brad Weber commands the starting halfback role, with impact to come off the bench from the dangerous Cortez Ratima, who boasts a remarkable passing accuracy of 99.3 percent across the 15 games he has played this season.

The top point scorer and goal kicker in the competition, Damian McKenzie runs out at first five with Josh Ioane as support, while Anton Lienert-Brown joins Nankivell in the midfield, and the dynamic Etene Nanai-Seturo, Emoni Narawa and Shaun Stevenson complete a potent back three.

Tyrone Thompson enters the lineup as the reserve hooker, with Ollie Norris named alongside Ryan to support at prop. Pita Gus Sowakula and Naitoa Ah Kuoi will provide their usual power off the bench at loose forward or second row.

Gallagher Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan said: “The team are relishing the opportunity to play a home semi-final in front of our loyal supporters and whānau. We feel their presence and the team are hugely motivated to put in a performance they can be proud of.

“The Brumbies will arrive with a lot of confidence following their victory over the Hurricanes. Whilst their customary strengths of lineout maul and contestable kicks were evident, they also showed a willingness to run from deeper in their own half and challenge with the ball in hand, so they are a well-rounded side who can hurt you if allow them to get their game going.

“We have named an experienced side who are fresh, fit and hungry to do a job. Should be a hell of a game!”

The semi-final match kicks off at 7.05pm at FMG Stadium Waikato this Saturday.

Gallagher Chiefs team to face the Brumbies:
1. Aidan Ross (72)
2. Samisoni Taukei'aho (75)
3. George Dyer (19)
4. Brodie Retallick (126)
5. Tupou Vaa'i (42)
6. Samipeni Finau (30)
7. Sam Cane (Co-Captain, 148)
8. Luke Jacobson (61)
9. Brad Weber (Co-Captain 121)
10. Damian McKenzie (109)
11. Etene Nanai-Seturo (42)
12. Anton Lienert-Brown (104)
13. Alex Nankivell (68)
14. Emoni Narawa (27)
15. Shaun Stevenson (82)

16. Tyrone Thompson (13)
17. Ollie Norris (43)
18. John Ryan (15)
19. Naitoa Ah Kuoi (47)
20. Pita Gus Sowakula (67)
21. Cortez Ratima (24)
22. Josh Ioane (9)
23. Rameka Poihipi (28)

Gallagher Chiefs caps are in brackets.

Fixture Information
Gallagher Chiefs v Brumbies
Saturday 17 June
Kick off: 7.05pm
Live: Sky Sport

All media enquiries to [email protected]

Experienced Gallagher Chiefs side named for semi-final