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Coming off their first win this year, the Waratahs will host a threatening Chiefs team in Wollongong. Join The Roar for live scores and the blog from 7:15pm (AEDT).
Before a couple of weeks ago, this game looked like a certain win for the Chiefs. But after their home loss to the Brumbies, and the Waratahs’ victory against the Lions, it looks a whole lot tougher to tip. The Waikato side sat out last weekend with a bye, and are lacking in momentum.
Last round’s 29-17 bonus-point win was much needed for New South Wales, who’ve had a barren start to the year. The Crusaders and Blues tarred them in the opening rounds, before the Rebels outlasted them 24-10.
There were some real positives from the Lions clash. New prop Angus Bell looks promising and Will Harrison is ticking the boxes at flyhalf, but at the same time injuries have cruelled the men in sky blue.
The Chiefs looked the form team in the opening weeks, handing the Crusaders their only defeat to date. They also dealt with the Blues and swept away the Sunwolves 43-17, before being severely outplayed by the Canberrans.
They come into this game without five All Blacks players including Damian McKenzie, who sits this game out due to All Blacks resting protocols. He’s one of eight changes to the starting team. Solomon Alaimalo slots in for the aforementioned at fullback, Tumua Manu returns at centre, and Shaun Stevenson takes over from Sam McNicol.
A knee injury has claimed Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Brad Weber takes his place at nine. Notably up front, Tyler Ardron returns for Mitchell Brown, Lachlan Boshier coming in for Luke Jacobson.
The Waratahs have their own share of injuries, Mitch Short takes over from dynamic halfback Jake Gordon, while captain Rob Simmons, Tom Robertson and Mark Nawaqanitawase are also ruled out. Ryan McCauley slots in for Simmons, however it’ll be Kurtley Beale who wears the captain’s armband.
Watch the breakdown. Michael Hooper takes on Sam Cane, and both pose huge threats at the ruck. Whoever claims the most turnovers will probably win.
It’ll be a good game – probably the closest of the three matches today. The Chiefs might just have it in them to bounce back.
Chiefs by eight.
Do join The Roar for live scores and a blog from 7:15pm (AEDT).
Time: 7:15pm (AEDT)
Venue: WIN Stadium
Referee: Angus Gardner
TV: Fox Sports
Odds: Chiefs $1.31, Waratahs $3.50
Last five meetings: Chiefs 39-27, Chiefs 46-31, Waratahs 45-25, Waratahs 33-17, Waratahs 25-20
Angus Bell, Robbie Abel, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Ryan McCauley, Tom Staniforth, Lachlan Swinton, Michael Hooper, Jack Dempsey, Mitch Short, Will Harrison, Jack Maddocks, Karmichael Hunt, Alex Newsome, James Ramm, Kurtley Beale (C). Reserves: Damien Fitzpatrick, Rory O’Connor, Tetera Faulkner, Pat Tafa, Jed Holloway, Michael McDonald, Lalakai Foketi, Siosifa Lisala.
Aidan Ross, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Ross Geldenhuys, Michael Allardice, Tyler Ardron, Lachlan Boshier, Sam Cane, Pita Gus Sowakula, Brad Weber, Aaron Cruden, Sean Wainui, Anton Lienert-Brown, Tumua Manu, Shaun Stevenson, Solomon Alaimalo. Reserves: Donald Maka, Ryan Coxon, Reuben O’Neill, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Mitchell Karpik, Lisati Milo-Harris, Kaleb Trask, Alex Nankivell.