Anyone can contribute to The Roar and have their work featured alongside some of Australia’s most prominent sports journalists.
It’s now do or die for the Chiefs and Reds as they clash in Hamilton to keep their respective Super Rugby campaigns alive. Join The Roar for live scores and commentary of the match from 5:35pm AEST.
With four matches remaining in the regular season, the Reds and Chiefs will most likely have to win all their games in a bid to make the finals.
It has been a difficult season for the Chiefs, securing only four wins so far, while the Reds are doing narrowly better with five wins.
Both teams are coming off defeats, with the Chiefs falling to the Blues and the Reds losing to the Waratahs. While both teams are dangerous to write off, they just lack the class and consistency of other teams who are in the running for a finals birth.
In team news and in a massive blow to the Reds, captain Samu Kerevi has been rested for Friday’s match in accordance with Rugby Australia’s workload management policy.
Coach Brad Thorn had hoped to rest Kerevi earlier in the season, but instead opted to target a rare win in South Africa.
In Kerevi’s absence, Wallabies lock Izack Rodda will captain the Reds for the first time, while France-bound centre Duncan Paia’aua starts at inside centre.
Paia’aua will be joined in midfield by debutant Seb Wileman after Chris Feauai-Sautia was ruled out with a knee injury.
The other change is Harry Hoopert replacing JP Smith (concussion) at loosehead prop.
Assistant coach Jim McKay said Rodda, at 22, was fully equipped to fill the leadership void left by Kerevi.
On the bench, prop Feao Fotuaika returns from a broken thumb along with backrower Adam Korczyk and youngsters Scott Malolua, Teti Tela and Liam McNamara, an Australian sevens representative.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs are also resting their star inside centre with Anton Lienert-Brown given the week off.
Prop Angus Ta’avao also gets a breather while All Blacks flanker Sam Cane has been named at blindside after returning from a broken neck via the bench last weekend.
Cane will captain the side while former Rebels five-eighth Jack Debreczeni has been named on the bench.
The Chiefs in recent weeks have done well to beat the Sharks and draw with the Highlanders against the odds before losing to the Blues.
In Hamilton, one would expect the Chiefs to get the job done over a Reds team that remains a work in progress
Chiefs by 10
Referee: Angus Gardner (AUS)
Time: 5:35pm AEST
Betting: Chiefs $1.23, Reds $4.20
Solomon Alaimalo, Shaun Stevenson, Tumua Manu, Alex Nankivell, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Marty McKenzie, Brad Weber, Pita Gus Sowakula, Lachlan Boshier, Sam Cane (c), Tyler Ardron, Jesse Parete, Nepo Laulala, Nathan Harris, Atu Moli
Reserves: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Aidan Ross, Sosefo Kautai, Daymon Leasuasu, Mitchell Karpik, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Jack Debreczeni, Sean Wainui
Matt McGahan, Jock Campbell, Seb Wileman, Duncan Paia’aua, Sefa Naivalu, Bryce Hegarty, Tate McDermott, Angus Scott-Young, Liam Wright, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Angus Blyth, Izack Rodda (c), Taniela Tupou, Alex Mafi, Harry Hoopert
Reserves: Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Feao Fotuaika, Ruan Smith, Adam Korczyk, Scott Higginbotham, Scott Malolua, Teti Tela, Liam McNamara