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The Gallagher Chiefs are set to take on the Highlanders this Saturday in Suva, Fiji. The team return to Fiji for the third consecutive year, with the Highlanders this year hosting the game at ANZ Stadium in Suva.

This highly anticipated match up will be the first since the International June test series break and both sides will be determined to impress and build momentum going into the last three round robin home games before the playoffs.

The last time the two teams met was at FMG Stadium Waikato in March, where the Gallagher Chiefs put in a clinical performance to win 27-22.

Gallagher Chiefs head coach Colin Cooper is taking positives from the previous game against the Highlanders but knows how tough they’ll be.

“It was good to win that game, we had to fight really hard so we know the challenge the Highlanders will bring. Whoever stays in control the most in this game will be successful.”

In the forwards, Karl Tu’inukuafe starts in the front row with Liam Polwart and Angus Ta’avao after his cameos for the All Blacks in the June test series, and Canadian lock Tyler Ardron returns to the side.

Impressive youngster Luke Jacobson starts in the six jersey after a highly effective game against the Crusaders, scoring two tries and putting in a dominant performance.

Cooper has been impressed with Jacobson’s displays and has seen his growth at Investec Super Rugby level.

“Luke Jacobson has shown his growth at this level. He’s very physical and wins most of the defensive stats. He can play 7,6 and lock and shows his versatility well.”

In the backline, Brad Weber and Damian McKenzie start in the nine and ten jerseys, and Charlie Ngatai and Anton Lienert-Brown link up again in the midfield with Sean Wainui and Toni Pulu covering the wings.

Colin Cooper expects an entertaining game in Suva, with the Gallagher Chiefs ready to embrace the challenge.

“The weather in Fiji is going to be great for two teams desperate to win. It’s going to be an entertaining game, a typical New Zealand derby played in a place where the Fijian love Rugby. We are ready to embrace the challenge.”

The game kicks off at 7:35pm this Saturday, airing live on Sky Sport 1. Following this game, the Gallagher Chiefs will play back to back home games against the Brumbies and Hurricanes at FMG Stadium Waikato. For family and two-game special packages and ticketing information click here

The Gallagher Chiefs team to take on the Highlanders is:

1. Karl Tu’inukuafe (12)
2. Liam Polwart (17)
3. Angus Ta’avao (13)
4. Michael Allardice (30)
5. Tyler Ardron (8)
6. Luke Jacobson (10)
7. Sam Cane (c) (103)
8. Liam Messam (175)
9. Brad Weber (53)
10. Damian McKenzie (62)
11. Sean Wainui (11)
12. Charlie Ngatai (52)
13. Anton Lienert-Brown (52)
14. Toni Pulu (30)
15. Solomon Alaimalo (22)

RESERVES:
16. Samisoni Taukei’aho (6)
17.  Sam Prattley (6)
18. Jeff Thwaites (9)
19. Jesse Parete (5)
20. Mitch Karpik (10)
21.Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (13)
22. Marty McKenzie (15)
23. Shaun Stevenson (29)

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