May 29, 2024

Gallagher Chiefs forward pack re-stocked for Battle of the Bombays

The Gallagher Chiefs this week welcome back in-form loose forward Samipeni Finau, lock Jimmy Tupou and prop Ollie Norris to bolster their side for the Battle of the Bombays.

For the past month, the side has been without the strong forwards due to injury but their return is timely with the top of the table Blues set to be a strong test ahead of finals which kick off next week.

Gallagher Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan said: “We are glad to welcome back some artillery this week. The guys have been getting restless on the sidelines so it will be good to get some minutes under their belt ahead of finals. There is still a lot of rugby to play so we are glad to have the majority of our squad fit and ready.

“We can’t deny that the Blues have been outstanding this season. They have great depth in their squad and have put on some notable displays of their skill. We look forward to the test.”

Rotation to the side sees Bradley Slater command the starting hooker position with Samisoni Taukei’aho to provide impact off the bench.

Naitoa Ah Kuoi, who extended his time with the Gallagher Chiefs this week until 2026, starts at lock alongside Tupou.

Finau will run out as the blindside flanker, with Luke Jacobson shifting to the openside as Wallace Sititi slots back into No.8. Fellow loose forwards Simon Parker and Kaylum Boshier will take the field from the reserves.

In the midfield, Rameka Poihipi and Daniel Rona will start with Quinn Tupaea to support off the bench.

Maintaining some continuity, the halfback, first-five combination of Cortez Ratima and Damian McKenzie remains consistent. As does the electric backline combination of Etene Nanai-Seturo, Emoni Narawa and Shaun Stevenson.

The match kicks off at 7.05pm this Saturday at Eden Park.

Gallagher Chiefs team to face the Blues:
1. Aidan Ross
2. Bradley Slater
3. George Dyer
4. Naitoa Ah Kuoi
5. Jimmy Tupou
6. Samipeni Finau
7. Luke Jacobson
8. Wallace Sititi
9. Cortez Ratima
10. Damian McKenzie
11. Etene Nanai-Seturo
12. Rameka Poihipi
13. Daniel Rona
14. Emoni Narawa
15. Shaun Stevenson

16. Samisoni Taukei’aho
17. Ollie Norris
18. Sione Ahio
19. Simon Parker
20. Kaylum Boshier
21. Xavier Roe
22. Quinn Tupaea
23. Peniasi Malimali

Unavailable for selection: Kaleb Trask, Josh Lord, Gideon Wrampling, Malachi Wrampling, Tupou Vaa’i, and Anton Lienert-Brown.

Gallagher Chiefs forward pack re-stocked for Battle of the Bombays