May 18, 2023

Gallagher Chiefs energised for home battle

The Gallagher Chiefs are hoping to fill FMG Stadium Waikato again for their final regular-season DHL Super Rugby Pacific clash pitting the two top Kiwi sides against each other on Saturday night.

Clayton McMillan has named a powerful side to take on the Hurricanes at FMG Stadium Waikato for the second time this season, before heading to Australia for their final two games ahead of the playoffs.

"We are excited to get back to FMG Stadium Waikato and hope our loyal supporters will be there in force again to support the team," said Gallagher Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan.

"Whilst the loss last week hurt, there is value if we are able to adjust and grow from the lessons we learned and that has been our focus this week.

"The Hurricanes pose significant challenges, particularly through their attack where they lead the competition in tries, clean breaks, defenders beaten, offloads, and post-contact carry metres – so we understand the challenge that’s coming and will need to be on," continued McMillan.

The strong front row combination of Aidan Ross, Samisoni Taukei'aho and George Dyer will start this week, with support off the bench from Tyrone Thompson, Ollie Norris and John Ryan.

Tupou Vaa'i, who holds the joint second most lineout steals in the competition (7), will start at lock alongside seasoned competitor Brodie Retallick. Naitoa Ah Kuoi who is close with joint fourth most lineout steals (6) is named in the reserves.

Pita Gus Sowakula will join Sam Cane, who returns from All Blacks rest, and Luke Jacobson in the loose forwards. Cane's co-captain Brad Weber commands his starting position at halfback whilst Cortez Ratima who boasts the second most accurate passing percentage in the competition (99.3%) will provide impact from the bench.

Damian McKenzie slots into first-five and Anton Lienert-Brown into second five. Winger's Etene Nanai-Seturo and Emoni Narawa are named again, with Shaun Stevenson at fullback and Alex Nankivell back in the starting lineup at centre.

In the reserves, Josh Ioane will provide support for first-five and Rameka Poihipi for the midfield.

The charity round match supporting the Variety Warm Hearts Winter Appeal will kick off at 7.05pm at FMG Stadium Waikato.

Gallagher Chiefs team to face the Hurricanes:
1. Aidan Ross (69)
2. Samisoni Taukei'aho (73)
3. George Dyer (16)
4. Brodie Retallick (123)
5. Tupou Vaa'i (40)
6. Pita Gus Sowakula (63)
7. Sam Cane (Co-Captain, 145)
8. Luke Jacobson (58)
9. Brad Weber (Co-Captain, 118)
10. Damian McKenzie (106)
11. Etene Nanai-Seturo (38)
12. Anton Lienert-Brown (101)
13. Alex Nankivell (65)
14. Emoni Narawa (9)
15. Shaun Stevenson (78)

16. Tyrone Thompson (11)
17. Ollie Norris (39)
18. John Ryan (11)
19. Naitoa Ah Kuoi (43)
20. Simon Parker (6)
21. Cortez Ratima (20)
22. Josh Ioane (9)
23. Rameka Poihipi (24)

Gallagher Chiefs caps in brackets.

Players not considered due to injury
Angus Ta’avao, Quinn Tupaea, Xavier Roe, Bryn Gatland, Samipeni Finau, Josh Lord, Gideon Wrampling, Ngatungane Punivai, Kaylum Boshier.

All media enquiries to [email protected]

Gallagher Chiefs energised for home battle