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Seven games, six victories, 27 tries and 29 competition points – with Round 9 marking the midpoint of the 2017 Investec Super Rugby regular season, the Gallagher Chiefs can draw confidence from their performances to date as they prepare to take on a highly-motivated Western Force lineup in Perth this weekend.

Saturday’s game is the final fixture of the Gallagher Chiefs three-week international tour. In Round 7, the team suffered their only defeat of the season thus far, losing 34-26 to the DHL Stormers in Cape Town. The Gallagher Chiefs showed remarkable composure a week later against the Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, returning from the halftime break 10 points down to run in four unanswered tries and record a 41-27 win over the home side.

Gallagher Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie has made four changes to the starting fifteen that fronted the Cheetahs last Saturday. In the forwards, there’s just one change to the front row with Siegfried Fisi’ihoi being promoted from the reserves to start at loosehead prop. Dominic Bird rekindles his partnership with Brodie Retallick in the second row, while Liam Messam will start this week at blindside flanker.

There’s just one change in the backs with Shaun Stevenson moving from the bench to start on the right wing. Of note in the reserves is the inclusion of former New Zealand Under 20s representative Aidan Ross. The 21-year old Bay of Plenty prop is in line to make his Investec Super Rugby debut off the bench.

The Gallagher Chiefs team to play the Western Force at 9.45pm (NZT) Saturday is:
1. Siegfried Fisi’ihoi (18)
2. Brayden Mitchell (3)
3. Atu Moli (18)
4. Dominic Bird (18)
5. Brodie Retallick (78)
6. Liam Messam (152)
7. Sam Cane (86)
8. Michael Leitch (28)
9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow (74)
10. Aaron Cruden (co-captain) (80)
11. James Lowe (43)
12. Anton Lienert-Brown (31)
13. Sam McNicol (13)
14. Shaun Stevenson (14)
15. Damian McKenzie (40)

RESERVES:

16. Hika Elliot (111)
17. Aidan Ross**
18. Sosefo Kautai (2)
19. Taleni Seu (24)
20. Lachlan Boshier (12)
21. Finlay Christie (4)
22. Stephen Donald (95)
23. Toni Pulu (19)

() = Gallagher Chiefs caps in brackets
**denotes Investec Super Rugby debut

Unavailable for selection: Brad Weber, Mitchell Graham, Nathan Harris, James Tucker, Glen Fisiiahi, Tim Nanai-Williams, Liam Polwart, Michael Allardice, Nepo Laulala, Johnny Faauli and Mitchell Brown.

The international travel abates somewhat for the Gallagher Chiefs following Saturday’s match against the Western Force in Perth. Barring their Round 13 contest against the BNZ Crusaders in Fiji, the team’s remaining six regular season games all take place on New Zealand soil, beginning with the Gallagher Chiefs historic clash against the Sunwolves at FMG Stadium Waikato on 29 April.

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