The Gallagher Chiefs have named a largely unchanged 23 for their clash against the Crusaders in a re-match of the Super Rugby Aotearoa Final from 2021. This highly anticipated match, at Orangetheory Stadium, is the first of the DHL Super Rugby Pacific Semi-Finals, with the winner booking a spot in the Grand Final on Saturday 18 June.
Of the run-on fifteen, jerseys 1 through 14 remain unchanged from last weekend’s Quarter-Final win against the Waratahs in Hamilton. The only change coming at fullback with Josh Ioane slotting into the 15 jersey to pair up with Nanai-Seturo and Lowe to complete the back three.
All eyes will be on the massive battle of the All Black locks with Brodie Retallick and Tupou Vaa’i pairing up together, against the likely duo of Scott Barrett and Sam Whitelock from the Crusaders. Brad Weber and Bryn Gatland once again form the 9/10 combination, with Gatland leading the DHL Super Rugby Pacific points leader board, and also topping the kicking percentages.
Sam Cane makes a welcome return to the match-day 23 after missing the last two weeks with a knee injury sustained against the Western Force. George Dyer returns to the bench to round out the front row cover, and Chase Tiatia will provide impact in the 23 jersey.
“It’s a challenge going down there but you have to walk towards that. It been a journey to get to this point and we should celebrate the fact it’s all on the line and we have earned an opportunity to do something special,” said head coach Clayton McMillan. “The challenge for us is to rise to the occasion, apply some pressure on the reigning champs and win enough moments to give ourselves a chance. We have demonstrated an ability to do that already this year. There is no magic formula, just effort, belief and execution. We know we have the squad to win if we play to our potential.”
The Gallagher Chiefs team to meet the Crusaders at Orangetheory Stadium on Friday is:
Aidan Ross Samisoni Taukei’aho Angus Ta’avao Brodie Retallick Tupou Vaa’i Samipeni Finau Luke Jacobson Pita Gus Sowakula Brad Weber © Bryn Gatland Etene Nanai-Seturo Quinn Tupaea Alex Nankivell Jonah Lowe Josh Ioane Bradley Slater Ollie Norris George Dyer Naitoa Ah Kuoi Sam Cane Xavier Roe Rameka Poihipi Chase Tiatia
Gallagher Chiefs v Crusaders (DHL Super Rugby Pacific Semi Final)
Friday 10th June, 7:05pm
Unavailable for selection:
Season ending: Reuben O’Neill, Simon Parker, Sione Mafileo, Anton Lienert-Brown