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The Gallagher Chiefs are back in action at home this Saturday, after coming off an impressive 27-22 win against the Highlanders last Friday.

Even though the home team have four consecutive wins under their belt, they are not underestimating their northern rivals, the Blues, in what promises to be a true Battle of the Bombays this Saturday at FMG Stadium Waikato.

Head Coach Colin Cooper sees this as a very important match.

“There is a great rivalry between the Chiefs and the Blues, and this time it is in our Whare (house). The Blues are going to bring everything - they’ll be coming with a lot of passion this weekend.”

Cooper has made three changes to the starting fifteen from the hard fought victory over the Highlanders last weekend. The tight five is again unchanged, Lachlan Boshier coming back into the number 6 jersey, co-Captain and now centurion Sam Cane staying put in the number 7 jersey, and Pita Gus Sowakula crashing his way into the starting lineup after a strong debut off the bench last week. In the backline Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi gets a start at halfback, with Jonathan Taumateine backing him up in the number 21 jersey.

Cooper wants his players to be focussed and to become more consistent within each game.

“We’ve shown a lot of heart which is great, but we just need to make sure that we play a bit smarter. The Blues will be dangerous. We need to make sure that we have our structures right, our attitude right, and play the game we know we can play. They are great ball carriers so we need to make sure that we tackle well and that our defence systems work.”

The last time the teams met was in a gruelling derby at Eden Park in Round Three. The Gallagher Chiefs battled to a 27-21 victory which went right down to the wire. This upcoming clash will be just as tough.  

Kickoff for this crucial New Zealand derby is at 7.35pm on Saturday night at FMG Stadium Waikato.

The Gallagher Chiefs team to take on the Blues is:

1. Aidan Ross (11)

2. Nathan Harris (36)

3. Angus Ta’avao (5)

4. Brodie Retallick (89)

5. Tyler Ardron (3)

6. Lachlan Boshier (24)

7. Sam Cane (100) (c)

8. Pita Gus Sowakula (1)

9. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (5)

10. Damian McKenzie (55)

11. Sean Wainui (5)

12. Johnny Faauli (11)

13. Anton Lienert-Brown (45)

14. Toni Pulu (24)

15. Solomon Alaimalo (14)

RESERVES:

16. Liam Polwart (11) 

17. Karl Tu’inukuafe (4)

18. Jeff Thwaites (2)

19. Luke Jacobson (2)

20. Liam Messam (167)

21. Jonathan Taumateine (6) 

22. Charlie Ngatai  (45) (c)

23. Marty McKenzie (10)

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