March 20, 2024

Narawa returns for clash against the Highlanders

FMG Stadium Waikato will host the Highlanders this Saturday for their clash against the Gallagher Chiefs for Kids Round. The game will be centred around DHL Super Rugby Pacifics young fans and the next generation of rugby players, with a family-friendly kick off of 4.35pm.

Gallagher Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan has assembled a redoubtable side for the occasion, with All Black Josh Lord returning to the starting lineup at lock with the imposing Tupou Vaa’i. Meanwhile, the Taranaki front row of Jared Proffit, Bradley Slater and Reuben O’Neill reunite.

The reliable loose forward trio of Samipeni Finau, Kaylum Boshier and Luke Jacobson is named to start again. Cortez Ratima will keep hold of the No.9 jersey, and Damian McKenzie will command his place at first five.

Quinn Tupaea and Rameka Poihipi will make for a dynamic midfield. While midfielder-turned-winger Daniel Rona will join Etene Nanai-Seturo and Shaun Stevenson in the backline.

Gallagher Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan said: “The Highlanders have looked a vastly improved outfit in 2024. They look fit, aggressive and organised on both sides of the ball. They have our full respect and attention, and we have selected a side that reflects the challenge we are anticipating.

“At this stage of the season, as other teams are, we are needing to find a good balance between following load management plans, dealing with injuries and giving squad members opportunity to play whilst maintaining a degree of cohesion in the match day 23. It has its challenges, but creates healthy competition in your squad and hopefully has you well positioned come the business end of the season.”

The Gallagher Chiefs will also welcome back electric winger Emoni Narawa from injury this Saturday.

“This week we are delighted to see Emoni returning for his first run of the season off the bench,” said McMillan. “He has been through a bit with his injury, but he’s worked hard to overcome that and is looking back to his cheeky elusive self.”

Further impact will come from forwards Tyrone Thompson, Aidan Ross, George Dyer, Naitoa Ah Kuoi and Wallace Sititi. Halfback Xavier Roe and utility back Josh Ioane will provide further cover.

Gallagher Chiefs team to face the Highlanders:
1. Jared Proffit
2. Bradley Slater
3. Reuben O’Neill
4. Josh Lord
5. Tupou Vaa’i
6. Samipeni Finau
7. Kaylum Boshier
8. Luke Jacobson (Captain)
9. Cortez Ratima
10. Damian McKenzie
11. Etene Nanai-Seturo
12. Quinn Tupaea
13. Rameka Poihipi
14. Daniel Rona
15. Shaun Stevenson

16. Tyrone Thompson
17. Aidan Ross
18. George Dyer
19. Naitoa Ah Kuoi
20. Wallace Sititi
21. Xavier Roe
22. Josh Ioane
23. Emoni Narawa

Unavailable for selection: Kaleb Trask (injury), Malachi Wrampling (injury), Samisoni Taukei’aho (All Blacks rest), Anton Lienert-Brown (injury/concussion)

Narawa returns for clash against the Highlanders