May 25, 2023

Refreshed Gallagher Chiefs team named to face Brumbies

Gallagher Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan has added a couple of fresh bodies to an otherwise unchanged side to face the Brumbies this Saturday night.

“It’s an important game for us against the Brumbies. They gave us a real lesson last year and are particularly tough at home in Canberra where their tactical kicking game and maul are real weapons,” said McMillan.

“We have selected a largely stable team, with Tupou Vaa’i and Anton Lienert-Brown the obvious absentees as they sit out their last All Blacks rest weeks.”

Vaa’i’s rest week opens up a spot at lock for 24-year-old Laghlan McWhannell to be named in the starting 15 for the first time this season as he makes his return from injury. Likewise, Josh Ioane also earns the same honour at first-five. This change in the number 10 jersey sees the competition's top point scorer Damian McKenzie (137 points) move into fullback with Shaun Stevenson, the current top try scorer (10 tries), to add impact off the bench.

The powerhouse front-row trio of Aidan Ross, Samisoni Taukei'aho and George Dyer are named to start again this week, with Brodie Retallick joining McWhannell at lock.

All Blacks Pita Gus Sowakula and Sam Cane will run out as the loose forwards, with Luke Jacobson in the No. 8 jersey. His form this season sees him equal with Scott Barrett for the most dominant tackles (12). The outstanding loose forward Samipeni Finau will add energy from the bench.

Brad Weber holds his starting spot at halfback with impact from Cortez Ratima in the reserves.

The dynamic duo of Etene Nanai-Seturo and Emoni Narawa start on the wing, with the midfield of Alex Nankivell and Rameka Poihipi. Daniel Rona, who this week signed a full-time contract with the Gallagher Chiefs is named as a midfield reserve. Ollie Norris, Brad Slater and John Ryan will provide support for the front row, as will Naitoa Ah Kuoi for the locks.

“The team has had an excellent week of preparation and is excited about the opportunity of being on the road, building our connection as a group and finding growth in our game,” said McMillan.

The "first nations" themed round will kick off at 9.35pm NZT at GIO Stadium in Canberra.

Gallagher Chiefs team to face the Brumbies:
1. Aidan Ross (70)
2. Samisoni Taukei'aho (74)
3. George Dyer (17)
4. Brodie Retallick (124)
5. Laghlan McWhannell (5)
6. Pita Gus Sowakula (64)
7. Sam Cane (Co-Captain, 146)
8. Luke Jacobson (59)
9. Brad Weber (Co-Captain, 119)
10. Josh Ioane (9)
11. Etene Nanai-Seturo (39)
12. Rameka Poihipi (25)
13. Alex Nankivell (66)
14. Emoni Narawa (9)
15. Damian McKenzie (107)

16. Bradley Slater (46)
17. Ollie Norris (40)
18. John Ryan (12)
19. Naitoa Ah Kuoi (44)
20. Samipeni Finau (27)
21. Cortez Ratima (21)
22. Daniel Rona (7)
23. Shaun Stevenson (79)

Gallagher Chiefs caps in brackets.

Players not considered due to injury
Angus Ta’avao, Quinn Tupaea, Xavier Roe, Bryn Gatland, Josh Lord, Gideon Wrampling, Ngatungane Punivai, Kaylum Boshier.

Fixture Information
Brumbies v Gallagher Chiefs
GIO Stadium, Canberrra
Saturday 27 May 2023
Kick off: 9.35pm NZT
Live: Sky Sport / Stan Sport

Refreshed Gallagher Chiefs team named to face Brumbies