June 08, 2023

Gallagher Chiefs team named for re-match with Queensland Reds


The Gallagher Chiefs will have the chance for redemption when they face the Queensland Reds in this weekend’s DHL Super Rugby Pacific quarterfinals at FMG Stadium Waikato.

In the comfort of their home stadium after two weeks on the road in Australia, Clayton McMillan has returned the team to its usual programming, with the starting line-up named much the same as it has been throughout the season. The multiple changes in the final two rounds of the regular season mean many key players are well-rested for playoffs and will return to their starting positions this week.

McMillan said: “We look forward to hosting the Reds and playing in front of our passionate supporters in what should be a cracking game at FMG Stadium Waikato.

“They were deserved winners in our last encounter where their tactical kicking game, ability to build high phase counts and greater desperation proved to be the difference.”

The Queensland Reds were the only team to defeat the Gallagher Chiefs during the regular season when they prevailed 25-22 in Taranaki.

“Notwithstanding the challenge the Reds bring, we have focused on ourselves this week and named a largely settled side. Having returned from Perth and navigating a shorter training week, we have removed a lot of clutter, understanding our players are at their best when they are clear on their roles and can play with freedom,” said McMillan.

This week, workhorse loose-head prop Aidan Ross is back in the number one jersey, with John Ryan at tighthead, and Samisoni Taukei'aho at hooker.

Alongside Brodie Retallick at lock is fellow All Black, Josh Lord, who returns to play from a head knock sustained in the last game against the Queensland Reds.

Samipeni Finau will run out with skipper Sam Cane and Luke Jacobson in the loose forwards. Meanwhile, co-captain Brad Weber reclaims the starting halfback position, with Cortez Ratima providing energy from the bench.

Damian McKenzie commands his place at first-five, with Josh Ioane to support from the reserves, and Rameka Poihipi returning to the midfield to slot into second-five. Anton Lienert-Brown will start at centre, with rookie Daniel Rona as support.

The speedy duo of Etene Nanai-Seturo and Emoni Narawa are named on the wing, whilst top try scorer (11 tries) Shaun Stevenson will start at fullback.

In the reserves, Bradley Slater, Ollie Norris and George Dyer will provide impact for the front row, with Naitoa Ah Kuoi supporting at lock, and Pita Gus Sowakula for the loose forwards.

The knock-out quarterfinal match will kick off at the family-friendly time of 4.35pm on Saturday 10 June.

Gallagher Chiefs team to face the Queensland Reds:
1. Aidan Ross (71)
2. Samisoni Taukai'aho (75)
3. John Ryan (14)
4. Brodie Retallick (125)
5. Josh Lord (18)
6. Samipeni Finau (29)
7. Sam Cane (Co-Captain, 147)
8. Luke Jacobson (60)
9. Brad Weber (Co-Captain, 120)
10. Damian McKenzie (108)
11. Etene Nanai-Seturo (41)
12. Rameka Poihipi (27)
13. Anton Lienert-Brown (103)
14. Emoni Narawa (26)
15. Shaun Stevenson (81)

16. Bradley Slater (48)
17. Ollie Norris (42)
18. George Dyer (18)
19. Naitoa Ah Kuoi (46)
20. Pita Gus Sowakula (66)
21. Cortez Ratima (23)
22. Josh Ioane (9)
23. Daniel Rona (8)

Gallagher Chiefs caps in brackets.

Players unavailable for selection due to injury:
Angus Ta’avao, Quinn Tupaea, Xavier Roe, Bryn Gatland, Laghlan McWhannell, Lalomilo Lalomilo, Alex Nankivell, Tupou Vaa’i.

Gallagher Chiefs team named for re-match with Queensland Reds