Livescore Thursday, April 25

Having suffered a disappointing loss to the previously winless Crusaders in round six, the Chiefs are taking a replenished team into their round seven contest against Moana Pasifika.

That includes the return of Damian McKenzie from All Blacks rest but also the withdrawal of captain Luke Jacobson and fullback Shaun Stevenson.

There are changes across the rest of the 23 as well, with Wallace Sititi and Peniasi Malimali getting their first crack in the starting unit this season and a potential Chiefs debut for prop Sione Ahio.

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Rameka Poihipi will start at second five-eighth and captain the team in Jacobson’s absence.

Two milestones will be brought up in the contest, both Etene Nanai-Seturo and Ollie Norris will celebrate their 50th game in Chiefs colours.

“Etene and Ollie have been integral members of the team for several seasons now. They both started as young men full of potential, and it has been a pleasure to see their personal growth and influence on the team flourish,” head coach Clayton McMillan said.

“To play Super Rugby games is a significant milestone and we are eager to put in a performance that is befitting of their achievement and contribution to our club.”

McMillan added that the team would not be taking their ever-improving opponents lightly.

“Moana Pasifika are a much-improved side. We have seen they have a lot more consistency in their performances, particularly at set piece, whilst maintaining their ability to hurt teams physically on both sides of the ball. They have also shown some nice innovations in their attack, so we will be anticipating everything and assuming nothing.

“A highlight this week is rewarding players who have worked hard to get their first opportunity to play. We back our full squad and can’t wait to see them state their case for further inclusion, especially at home in front of our loyal supporters” said McMillan.

The game day’s festivities will include a curtain raiser match between the Waikato Police and Bay of Plenty Police.

Chiefs team to face Moana Psifika

1. Ollie Norris**
2. Samisoni Taukei’aho
3. Reuben O’Neill
4. Jimmy Tupou
5. Tupou Vaa’i
6. Samipeni Finau
7. Simon Parker
8. Wallace Sititi
9. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi
10. Damian McKenzie
11. Peniasi Malimali
12. Rameka Poihipi (c)
13. Daniel Rona
14. Emoni Narawa
15. Etene Nanai-Seturo**

16. Bradley Slater
17. Jared Proffit
18. Sione Ahio
19. Naitoa Ah Kuoi
20. Kaylum Boshier
21. Cortez Ratima
22. Josh Ioane
23. Anton Lienert-Brown

** 50th DHL Super Rugby Pacific / Gallagher Chiefs game

Unavailable for selection: Kaleb Trask, Malachi Wrampling, Josh Lord, Tyrone Thompson, Tom Florence, Luke Jacobson (AB Rest), and Shaun Stevenson (AB Rest).

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