May 15, 2024

McKenzie, Stevenson return for Gallagher Chiefs clash with Rebels

Gallagher Chiefs stars Damian McKenzie and Shaun Stevenson return to the starting lineup this week for their final trans-Tasman regular season clash against the Melbourne Rebels.

The dynamic All Blacks will inject additional energy into a strong side who have been gaining timely momentum in recent weeks.

“We feel we are developing our game and squad readiness as the business end of the season approaches, and have no doubt the Rebels will give us a serious examination of where we are actually at,” said Gallagher Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan.

“We welcome back some artillery this week and will need all their experience in what will be a fast and physical encounter.”

In addition to McKenzie and Stevenson, Aidan Ross returns to the starting prop role, Kaylum Boshier is elevated from the bench and Etene Nanai-Seturo shifts back to the wing after two strong games filling in at fullback.

Both teams present strengths when it comes to kicks in play with the Rebels Carter Gordon (100) and Damian McKenzie (101) just two of three players this season to have made it over 100. The Rebels also present a significant threat at lineout time, currently leading the competition for average lineouts won (6.8 per 80 minutes) by lock Josh Canham.

“The Rebels are a quality football team. They play with tempo, are courageous in attack, and have some genuine athletes they use to good effect. They have pushed some quality teams to the wire and are especially formidable at home in Melbourne,” said McMillan.

The Gallagher Chiefs made the journey across the ditch on Wednesday in preparation for the Friday night game which kicks off at 9.35pm NZT. Fans can tune in live on Sky Sport.

Gallagher Chiefs team to face the Melbourne Rebels:
1. Aidan Ross
2. Samisoni Taukei’aho
3. George Dyer
4. Manaaki Selby-Rickit
5. Tupou Vaa’i
6. Simon Parker
7. Kaylum Boshier
8. Luke Jacobson (captain)
9. Cortez Ratima
10. Damian McKenzie
11. Etene Nanai-Seturo
12. Quinn Tupaea
13. Anton Lienert-Brown
14. Emoni Narawa
15. Shaun Stevenson

16. Bradley Slater
17. Jared Proffit
18. Reuben O’Neill
19. Naitoa Ah Kuoi
20. Wallace Sititi
21. Xavier Roe
22. Josh Ioane
23. Rameka Poihipi

Unavailable for selection: Kaleb Trask, Jimmy Tupou, Ollie Norris, Samipeni Finau, Josh Lord.

McKenzie, Stevenson return for Gallagher Chiefs clash with Rebels