SponsorsSponsorsSponsorsSponsorsSponsorsNew Harcourts logo BLUE RGBSponsorsSponsorsSponsorsSponsorsSponsors

Two unbeaten New Zealand teams, 80 minutes and a point to prove. The stage is set for an epic showdown this Friday when the Gallagher Chiefs host the Hurricanes at FMG Stadium Waikato.

Gallagher Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie is meeting the challenge head on, naming a physical and experienced lineup to go to work on Friday night. Leading the charge is co-captain Sam Cane, who is primed to make his first appearance of 2017 having fully recovered from the ankle injury he sustained while playing for the All Blacks in November 2016.

In addition to Cane, there are four other changes to the starting fifteen that defeated the Blues 41-26 last Friday night in Hamilton. Hard-working Taranaki loose forward Mitchell Brown will start at blindside flanker, replacing Liam Messam who is being rested following two massive 80-minute performances. There are three changes to the backline with Anton Lienert-Brown shifting to second five-eighth, Tim Nanai-Williams will wear jersey 13 this week and Toni Pulu claims the right wing.

It is a special night for 24-year old Bay of Plenty hooker Sebastian Siataga who could make his Investec Super Rugby debut off the bench. With the return of Cane, Lachlan Boshier moves to the reserves. Veteran back Stephen Donald has been named at 22, his first appearance for the Gallagher Chiefs this season.

The Gallagher Chiefs team to play the Hurricanes at 7.35pm on Friday is:

1.            Kane Hames (11)

2.            Hika Elliot (106)

3.            Nepo Laulala (2)

4.            Dominic Bird (13)

5.            Brodie Retallick (73)

6.            Mitchell Brown (4)

7.            Sam Cane (co-captain) (82)

8.            Michael Leitch (24)

9.            Tawera Kerr-Barlow (69)

10.         Aaron Cruden (co-captain) (75)

11.         James Lowe (39)

12.         Anton Lienert-Brown (26)

13.         Tim Nanai-Williams (79)

14.         Toni Pulu (15)

15.         Damian McKenzie (35)    

RESERVES:

16.         Sabastian Siataga**

17.         Siegfried Fisi’ihoi (13)

18.         Atu Moli (13)

19.         Taleni Seu (20)

20.         Lachlan Boshier (10)

21.         Jonathan Taumateine (2)

22.         Stephen Donald (91)

23.         Shaun Stevenson (9)

() = Gallagher Chiefs caps in brackets

**denotes Investec Super Rugby debut

Unavailable for selection: Brad Weber, Mitchell Graham, Nathan Harris, James Tucker, Glen Fisiiahi, Chase Tiatia, Michael Allardice, Charlie Ngatai, Sam McNicol and Liam Polwart. 

SponsorsSponsorsSponsorsSponsorsSponsorsNew Harcourts logo BLUE RGBSponsorsSponsorsSponsorsSponsorsSponsors