SUPER RUGBY PACIFIC: CHIEFS NAME UNCHANGED SIDE FOR SEMIFINAL AGAINST HURRICANES

The Chiefs have named an unchanged 23 for their clash with the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday afternoon.

With the side getting through their quarter-final against the Reds last weekend unscathed and putting their best performance of the season on the park, coach Clayton McMillan has opted to stick with that formula in the hope of upsetting the top-seeded Hurricanes.

“Our key focus is accuracy and discipline. We improved significantly against the Reds, and that alone enabled us to play the type of game we know we have always been capable of playing,” McMillan said.

“It is also encouraging that we have a fit and fresh squad who are chomping at the bit, and for the first time this year, we are able to name an unchanged matchday 23.”

Many standout performances happened across the park last week to cement this week’s team selection.

In particular, hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho, who scored two tries in the first half, and first five-eighth Damian McKenzie who continued his strong form, adding another 13 points to his competition-leading point-scorer tally of 157 so far this season.

“The Hurricanes have set the pace in this year’s DHL Super Rugby Pacific competition, have earned the right to get the home advantage through the finals, and will be formidable opposition again in front of a large and expectant home crowd,” McMillan said.

“They are a well-balanced team, riding high on confidence. They will be a tough nut to crack, as we have already experienced twice this year. Playing each other for a third time creates new opportunities. I imagine both teams will draw on previous experiences to understand where the gains can be made.”

The game kicks off at 4.35pm on Saturday at Sky Stadium, Wellington.

Chiefs

1. Aidan Ross

2. Samisoni Taukei’aho

3. George Dyer

4. Jimmy Tupou

5. Tupou Vaa’i

6. Samipeni Finau

7. Luke Jacobson (captain)

8. Wallace Sititi

9. Cortez Ratima

10. Damian McKenzie

11. Etene Nanai-Seturo

12. Rameka Poihipi

13. Anton Lienert-Brown

14. Emoni Narawa

15. Shaun Stevenson

Reserves:

16. Bradley Slater

17. Jared Proffit

18. Reuben O’Neill

19. Naitoa Ah Kuoi

20. Simon Parker

21. Xavier Roe

22. Quinn Tupaea

23. Daniel Rona

Unavailable for selection:

Kaleb Trask, Malachi Wrampling, Gideon Wrampling and Josh Lord.

Hurricanes

Meanwhile, the Hurricanes welcome back Tyrel Lomax for their semifinal against the Chiefs.

The 32-test All Black will start in the front row alongside hooker Asafo Aumua and loosehead prop Pouri Rakete-Stones, who replaces Xavier Numia who was injured in last weekend’s win over the Melbourne Rebels. Captain Brad Shields also returns to the starting lineup after coming off the bench last weekend.

That sees Pasilio Tosi and Devan Flanders move back to the bench, while coach Clark Laidlaw has opted for a 6-2 bench split, which sees Kini Naholo miss out and James Tucker join the reserves.

1. Xavier Numia

2. Asafo Aumua

3. Pasilio Tosi

4. Justin Sangster

5. Isaia Walker-Leawere

6. Brad Shields (c)

7. Peter Lakai

8. Brayden Iose

9. T J Perenara

10. Brett Cameron

11. Salesi Rayasi

12. Jordie Barrett

13. Billy Proctor

14. Josh Moorby

15. Ruben Love

Reserves:

16. James O’Reilly

17. Tevita Mafileo

18. Pasilio Tosi

19. James Tucker

20. Devan Flanders

21. Du’Plessis Kirifi

22. Richard Judd

23. Bailyn Sullivan

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