Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie has named a formidable line-up to face the Crusaders for the first time this season. It features five changes to the starting XV that defeated the Reds 46-17 in New Plymouth in Round 11.
There’s just one change in the forwards with Nathan Harris making his first start of the year at hooker. 25-year-old Harris, who re-signed this week with the Chiefs until 2019, made a welcome return to Super Rugby two weeks ago following a long injury layoff.
There are four changes to the backs with co-captain Aaron Cruden returning to start at fly-half. Anton Lienert-Brown, who also re-signed with the Chiefs this week, moves to inside centre from 13.
Sam McNicol is promoted from the bench to start in jersey 13 and Tim Nanai-Williams has fully recovered from a shoulder injury sustained against the Hurricanes in Round 3 to start on the right wing.
Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Tim Nanai-Williams, 13 Sam McNicol, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (cc), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane (cc), 6 Mitchell Brown, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Kane Hames
Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, 18 Atu Moli, 19 Taleni Seu, 20 Liam Messam, 21 Jonathan Taumateine, 22 Stephen Donald, 23 Shaun Stevenson