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The Chiefs are faced with one of the toughest tasks in world provincial rugby as they welcome the Crusaders to FMG Stadium Waikato this evening. Follow all the action from this Super Rugby Aotearoa clash with live scores here on The Roar.
Such a dominant force in Super Rugby for so long, the Crusaders haven’t quite been themselves over the last two weeks. A fortnight ago they lost at home to the Highlanders, while they required a David Havili drop-goal in golden point to get over the Hurricanes last week.
The Chiefs, meanwhile, have worked themselves right into contention for a place in the final thanks to a trio of consecutive wins. A fourth today will get them even closer to the decider.
Their cause hasn’t been helped by an MCL injury to Quinn Tupaea, but they do receive a boost with Lachlan Boshier making his long-awaited season debut. Damian McKenzie, who kicked the game-winner last week, shifts from fullback to flyhalf, with Chase Tiata starting at 15.
There’s been some bad news on the injury front for the Crusaders. Centre Jack Goodhue is gone for the year with a busted ACL, and fellow All Black Joe Moody is out of this game with a toe complaint.
Sam Whitelock, Whetukamokamo Douglas and Cullen Grace have all been omitted from what is a new-look forward pack for the visitors.
Kick-off: 5:05pm (AEST)
Venue: FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton
Live stream: Stan Sport
Betting: Crusaders $1.35, Chiefs $3.20 (odds via PlayUp)
(1-15): Aidan Ross, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Angus Ta’avao, Tupou Vaa’i, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Mitchell Brown, Lachlan Boshier, Luke Jacobson, Brad Weber (c), Damian McKenzie, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Alex Nankivell, Anton Lienert-Brown, Jonah Lowe, Chase Tiatia
Bench: Nathan Harris, Ollie Norris, Sione Mafileo, Pita Gus Sowakula, Kaylum Boshier, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Bryn Gatland, Sean Wainui
(1-15): George Bower, Brodie McAlister, Michael Alaalatoa, Mitchell Dunshea, Quinten Strange, Scott Barrett (c), Tom Sanders, Ethan Blackadder, Mitchell Drummond, Richie Mo’unga, George Bridge, David Havili, Leicester Fainga’anuku, Seve Reece, Will Jordan
Bench: Cody Taylor, Isileli Tu’ungafasi, Oliver Jager, Luke Romano, Sione Havili Talitui, Bryn Hall, Dallas McLeod, Manasa Mataele