March 25, 2021

Gallagher Chiefs named to face the Blues in Hamilton

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Gallagher Chiefs Head Coach Clayton McMillan has named his Gallagher Chiefs team to face the Blues on home soil following their 35-29 win over the Hurricanes last weekend.

The northern rivalry, proudly sponsored by Waitomo Group, will kick off at 7.05pm on Saturday 27 March at FMG Stadium Waikato.

McMillan has made three changes to his starting fifteen while two fresh faces will join the bench.

In the only change to the forward pack, rookie Samipeni Finau has been promoted from the bench to start at lock in place of All Black lock Tupou Vaa’i who has been ruled out after sustaining a concussion against the Hurricanes.

Sean Wainui has been named to start on the left wing in his 50th Super Rugby game. Wainui made his Super Rugby debut in 2016 for the Crusaders before heading north to pull on the Gallagher Chiefs jersey in 2018. Māori All Blacks outside back Shaun Stevenson returns to start after in-form back Jonah Lowe was ruled out due to sickness.

Taranaki prop Reuben O’Neill returns to the twenty-three named on the bench. The Gallagher Chiefs will welcome the return of powerful number eight Pita Gus Sowakula to complete the changes to the bench.

McMillan said this weekend will continue to test our squad.

“The Blues are a quality team. They will be disappointed with aspects of their game from the weekend and will be determined to get back on track against us. We are prepared for the backlash and will be looking to build on last week’s performance.

“We have lost a couple of players to injury and sickness this week, but that provides others with the opportunity to put their hand up. We do welcome back Pita Gus Sowakula from injury, and it will be exciting to see the impact he has off the bench.”

McMillan finished commending Wainui on his impending achievement.

“Sean is a talented player and is a valued member of the Gallagher Chiefs whānau. It’s an achievement to clock up 50 Super games and we look forward to seeing his game continue to grow.”

Gallagher Chiefs:
1. Aidan Ross (38)
2. Samisoni Taukei’aho (39)
3. Angus Ta’avao (38)
4. Samipeni Finau (2)
5. Naitoa Ah Kuoi (15)
6. Mitchell Brown (48)
7. Sam Cane (125) (cc)
8. Luke Jacobson (28)
9. Brad Weber (88) (cc)
10. Kaleb Trask (10)
11. Sean Wainui (40) – (49 Super Rugby Games)
12. Quinn Tupaea (14)
13. Anton Lienert-Brown (84)
14. Shaun Stevenson (54)
15. Damian McKenzie (87)

16. Bradley Slater (18)
17. Ollie Norris (6)
18. Reuben O’Neill (12)
19. Simon Parker (2)
20. Pita Gus Sowakula (28)
21. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (40)
22. Alex Nankivell (33)
23. Chase Tiatia (3)

() = Gallagher Chiefs caps in brackets
*denotes Gallagher Chiefs debut
**denotes Sky Super Rugby debut

Unavailable for selection:
Atu Moli (hips), Bailyn Sullivan (concussion), Etene Nanai-Seturo (hamstring), Josh Lord (shoulder), Jonah Lowe (sickness), Laghlan McWhannell (knee), Lachlan Boshier (foot), Mitchell Karpik (neck), Tupou Vaa’i (concussion), Sione Mafileo (back).

Game Day Information:
Fixture: Gallagher Chiefs vs. Blues, Saturday 27 March, 7.05pm
Curtain Raiser: Chiefs Development v Blues Development, 4.25pm
Location: FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton
Gates Open: 4.15pm

Gallagher Chiefs named to face the Blues in Hamilton