After last week’s 28-point demise at the hands of the Crusaders, the Chiefs will want to get back to winning ways before the Super Rugby finals when they meet the Blues in Auckland. We’ll have live scores from 5.35pm AEST.
Despite leading the overall Super Rugby table for the majority of the season, last week’s loss means that the Chiefs could find themselves playing in the first week of the finals should they lose this weekend.
A bonus-point win from the Crusaders coupled with a Chiefs loss would see the Christchurch side elevated to the top of the New Zealand Conference.
Similiarly, a Brumbies win later on tonight would mean they leapfrog the Chiefs into second spot, should the Chiefs lose.
Chiefs boss Dave Rennie has made a number of changes to the side that lost in Christchurch last Friday night.
Liam Messam makes his return at blindside after recovering from a back injury, Toby Smith will start at loosehead prop while Robbie Robinson, Lelia Masaga and Andrew Horrell make up a new-look back three.
Pauliasi Manu, Sam Cane, Gareth Anscombe and Asaeli Tikoirotuma have all been added to the squad.
The Blues had their Super Rugby finals hopes officially extinguished last weekend when they were crushed 34-13 by the Cheetahs.
Blues coach Sir John Kirwan has made four changes to the side that lost in South Africa.
All Blacks veterans Keven Mealamu and Piri Weepu have been recalled at hooker and scrum-half respectively while Kane Barrett replaces Steven Luatua at flanker.
Rising star Lolagi Visinia comes in on the wing, while Rene Ranger moves into outside centre.
For Ranger, Ali Williams and Anthony Boric, tonight will be the last time the pull on the jersey for the Blues.
It should be enough to ensure that Kirwan’s men are fully motivated for the occasion, though if they are to give the trio the ideal send-off they’ll need to overcome a lopsided recent record.
The Chiefs have won the past four matches between the two sides by an average winning margin of 8.5 points, with the Blues’ last win being a 16-13 win in Hamilton back in 2011.
Last week was only the fourth time this season that the Chiefs have gone down, and Rennie won’t tolerate a repeat this weekend, and they should come away from Auckland with the points.